I am currently involved in an entirely voluntary capacity with the artistic direction of a small community amateur dramatics production. Well, ‘artistic direction’ is probably not exactly the right term. It’s coordinating and doing all the sorts of things I love playing around with such as costumes, scenery, and props and lighting. It’s a chance to try out new ideas and schemes, and it means being part of a large group enthusiastically and cheerfully all working towards a common cause.
I love this sort of thing. Apart from making lists and thinking of ideas, my main job at the moment is to watch what’s happening and get to know the play in general terms. This involves sitting in on various bits of rehearsal, and even at this very early stage, I am riveted and absorbed by all that is going on around me. That so many busy people are willing to give up so much time to create this production is nothing short of miraculous, but I think it is an indication of just how much people love a chance to be actively involved in the creative arts.
We are a group without a budget ambitiously taking on a rather well-known musical. I am in no doubt that even with our scarce financial resources, we will triumph eventually with a memorable couple of performances. You can tell this just by feeling the can-do atmosphere prevailing in every rehearsal room. We also have a (sort of) track record with one great production about 7 years ago. Yes, it’s taken that long to gear ourselves up for another show, but that just makes it extra special. A bit like Oberammergau, really, except without the Christian bits.
In my search for costume ideas and props, I have been fortunate to have been supplied with contacts and links to a number of proper local amateur dramatic societies who have performed this same musical and who are willing to share their own resources. I am amazed at the number of them around. This is a serious pastime for a lot of people, it seems, and I think it’s wonderful. Amazing. Creative opportunities in things like this are a memorable part of life and they are worth every second of the time they take from our impossibly busy lives, because in the end the reward on invested time is incalculable.
Long live amateur dramatics, and three cheers for those who dedicate so much time in putting them all together.