The big day has come. We’re all backstage in the dark, in full dress just waiting, waiting, waiting, quietly revising our lines, whilst our audience arrives to enjoy their pre-performance drinks. Oh – how we could do with one right now! And then the stage lights come on. All goes quiet. Our Director goes on to make his opening announcements. But, wait a wee minute, he’s reading them from a sheet of paper. The cheek of it! He’s been bullying us into learning our lines and acting our parts for the last three months and he’s actually reading his announcement from a sheet of paper!
But we all forgive him, even for not speaking with a Mid West American accent.
And then, we’re on. The trembling from the earthquake has reached our knees. There’s no escape, no going back. So, let’s do this. Backstage we’re all praying that everybody onstage gets their lines right whilst nervously listening for our cue to meet the glare of the lights.
My God! I’m on. I can’t back pedal. I can’t find reverse. I can’t see a thing except light. No Director, no audience except, vaguely, one or two people in the front row. But I daren’t even glance at them. I’m in the zone, adrenalin coursing through my alcohol-free veins, concentrating like never before. My first lines are “Well, well, I smell turkey” which is most strange because we can all smell the delicious roast pork and potatoes cooking in the kitchen, so capably prepared for us by The Whole Hog. Most distracting.
But then, in just a few short minutes, my stage character has aged 50 years, died and gone to heaven. I’m off, spent and utterly relieved, to join the vaguely seen cast backstage who have successfully played their role and are happy to know that I’ve also done my bit.
Suddenly it all comes to an end. We take our bows. The earthquake wasn’t half as bad as forecasted. The tsunami was but a mere ripple and the ghosts of Corporal Jones, Private Fraser and Denis Norden have been gently put at their ease for a few months.
Are we happy? Yes, in a way. Because we did it, together, as a team. We gave it our best but now it’s time to say goodbye to each other for a while and that’s just so sad. What on earth are we going to do with our Tuesdays? What excuse can I make to go out for a ride on my motorbike?
How are we going to survive without our chocolate biscuit fix? So many questions like…… What are we going to do next?
I wish you all a Long Christmas Dinner and a Happy New Year.