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My First Time

Updated: Aug 11, 2019

Like most theatre companies, SAVVY plans ahead and it was while assistant directing our last Christmas performance (The Snow Queen) that I suggested devising around the legend of King Arthur for our next big show. So when Sheree turned to me and said “Great – but you’ll be directing next year”, I laughed it off and thought nothing more of it until January, when we started back again with the amazing Action Replay Drama Group. It was then things got serious (well not exactly serious… if you come and see the show – you’ll very quickly understand).


For SAVVY, I have always been the Assistant Director. Always. And that’s fine with me. No pressure, just looking at the bigger picture, working on spacing, encouraging cast members and generally having a laugh on stage and off. Just being the class clown, really, the village idiot. I have to admit, I think the show reflects this and I’m not entirely sure yet whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.


Anyway, when Sheree asked me (officially) if I’d like to direct Camelot I jumped at the chance. How hard can it be, right? Action Replay are by far the most professional, dedicated and enjoyable group we work with, surely it’ll be an easy task? Well, yes and no. Trouble is, I found I had a bit of a problem.  The ‘problem’ wasn’t the cast (as predicted) the ‘problem’ wasn’t the story (a few hiccups but I’m a huge King Arthur geek, so was confident); the ‘problem’ was me and trying to explain to the cast and Sheree what to do when, what to say when. So, I’d have an idea in my head, but trying to relay that to a learning disabled cast seemed impossible to me.


But why, when I’d worked with the group for five years and had always been able to support and encourage them as an AD? I think, in earlier rehearsals, I was just so excited and enthusiastic and had all these amazing ideas, that my brain scrambled and I therefore couldn’t explain myself properly. It was pretty painful to be honest, and I’m sure I was giving Sheree a mini-nervous breakdown.


However, the big ‘HALLELUJAH’ moment came when I taught the knights, the princesses, the King and Queen and the bouncers a dance routine to Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’. The first big group number of the show, it is set to be a show-stopper, and when the cast all nailed it, pretty much on the fourth run through, I was nearly in tears. It looked fantastic.


Everyone was on a high. It gave me the boost I needed to show that I can do it, I’m still just naïve in my direction, but that’s what I have Sheree for. She’s been MY AD this time (first rehearsal I got a bit cocky and sent her for a coffee run – she messed up my order but I didn’t want to be a diva so drank it anyway), and has been supporting me and there to ‘clean-up’ my direction to make the overall picture look amazing. Something I’d always done for her, but actually something you forget when you’re looking at the details and story of a scene.


So as my directorial debut approaches (I’ll be waiting for my Oscar) I am so unbelievably chuffed with the finished product, I honestly think I’ll be an emotional wreck on show day. I can’t believe what we’ve all come up with, especially after seeing Sheree’s face when I first pitched my ideas – “It’s a modern twist on King Arthur and Lancelot, all set to Queen music, you know – knights who joust to the song Fat Bottomed Girls… We’ll meet The Lady of the Lake and a shark that throws sweets, I’ll chuck in a gag about Merlin’s crystal balls… Oh and Guinevere… well you just wait to see what I have in store for THAT! It’s going to be CAMPER THAN CHRISTMAS!!!!” *does a little dance and waits for Sheree’s reaction*.


So if you DO fancy supporting my first EVER show, Camelot – The Campest Show You’ll Ever See, and see all the madness in action, and witness the moment my brain vomited all over the stage and created something, then come along.  The cast are out of this world and we’ve literally had a (crystal) ball creating it!


CAMELOT A fun, ‘get-involved’ show for all ages. Sunday, 30th November, Secombe Theatre Tickets on sale now!  Call the Box Office on: 0208 – 770 6990 Or visit: http://www.suttontheatres.co.uk

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all photos are copyright of Andrew hYLdOn, 2019
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