Move over Mrs Director !

by Gill Scarlett on February 6th, 2012

A monthly blog by Gill Scarlett on the progress of the next MADS production "Move Over Mrs Markham"

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September 2010
I receive a group e mail asking for suggestions for forthcoming year. I contact the Chairman to say I can direct either the spring or autumn production if needed. They will let me know after the next planning meeting
October 2010
Phone call to say yes would like me to do the spring production but can the play be funny this time! It appears some members did not like the last play I directed. Oh dear!! My ego takes a momentary bash but I enjoy the directing so give myself a talking to. Don’t be so sensitive. I am told that someone will suggest some plays to me or if I have suggestion they will vet it. This is a break from tradition but hey ho. My only stipulation is that I have to connect with the chosen play. Apparently they fancy a farce this time
November 2010
Several plays are passed to me mostly farces from sixties and seventies. I can’t get past first few pages on one or two because they are sexist, racist and homophobic. What have I become! After so many years working in health and social care I would not dare utter some of words in the plays but that was the seventies for you. One play makes me laugh out loud and I can imagine it in my head. We are making progress. I decide on “Move over Mrs Markham” by John Chapman and Ray Cooney
December 2010
I meet with Chris Gibbs who will produce the play. It will be her first time but she has been in loads of plays and I know Chris so I am sure we can work well together. We try to work out a budget. Scripts £120, Hall £400, License fee £200, Set £200, Costumes, props PANIC!!! Can we sell enough tickets? I go out on a limb to say I want to do three nights as it seems a lot of work for only two nights.
Chris orders the scripts once we find out there is no restrictions on the licences. Sometimes if a play is on in the west end no licence is granted for productions elsewhere. Are they scared of competition from Mads!
We send out an e mail inviting members to a play reading in early January. I read the play three more times and am laughing so much my husband keeps wondering what I am reading.
January 2011
Still feeling a bit jaded after the annual overeating and drinking fest that is Christmas we meet in the village hall for the play reading. Surprise Surprise only one man turns up. What is with you guys that you need to be begged to perform. You know you love it in the end. There are several of “ the girls” and we attempt to give everyone a chance to read for a part. All great but to be honest I am more confused at the end. However I decide to sleep on it and think of a few more male performers. Watch this space for news on “The Cast”. There are some old faces not appeared for a while and a couple of newcomers so welcome to them. Once I have decided I get quite excited. I read the play twice more and this time imagine the actual people in the role. Do more laughing. Alan thinks I am losing it
First rehearsal is on 12th January and I am really looking forward to it. Watch this space for next month’s instalment. See if I am a Happy Bunny or a Quivering Wreck.
Most of all get the date in your diary for MADS next production. 22nd,23rd and 24th MARCH

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Gill Scarlett - February 14th, 2012 at 3:01 AM
Thursday 12th January
I arrive in the village hall for the first rehearsal. I always try to get there early to make sure the hall is warmer and stage is set. I stand looking at the stage and trying to work out how we get two rooms into such a small space. I chalk some of main parts on to the floor to help the cast know where the doors are etc. People start to arrive for rehearsal and I take them through the set bluffing a bit as in my head I am thinking the stage is not big enough. We have a few introductions as there are a few new faces and start on Act One. Don’t worry too much about acting side yet I say. Let’s just get moves sorted. We get about three quarters of the way through Act one and it is 9.30pm so time to go home. Some of cast tell me some dates they cannot make so I will have to re-jig the rehearsal dates this week. While we are clearing up the Village hall committee file out and Wendy Scott tells me MADS performed “Move over Mrs Markham” years ago which I am surprised about. It must have been over 25years ago as I can’t remember. I will ask the committee to look it up for interest sake and see who was in it and if any photos exist. I don’t sleep well as I am thinking about the stage!

Thursday 19th January
I have had a meeting with Rob Hardwick this week re the set design so feel a little more confident with the cast telling them where everything will be even though it will be tight on stage I think it will be ok. We have a good rehearsal and Gordon Cooper has us laughing already with his antics. I give everyone a list of costumes to see what can be rustled up before our meeting next week with Grace Hodges. We are setting the play in the 1970’s. Chris Gibbs and I have met with the Ann Langstone and Suzanne Hall to talk about the props and I ask the cast if anyone has any bright curtains or cushions, designer bags or an intercom! Arrange for everyone to come a bit earlier next week to show us what they have found

Monday 23rd January
Everyone arrives with bits of costumes and some props which we have a quick look through and I leave Grace to chat with the cast re their costumes. Three cast members are only in Act Two so this is their first time at rehearsal so more introductions. It is important that everyone feels welcome and at home as believe me over the weeks we will spend a lot of time together. We crack on with Act Two which seems harder. There is lots of movement in and out of doors which relies on perfect timing. Difficult to do moves with a script in your hand so I remind everyone to get learning their lines. This will be a phrase I shall no doubt repeat over the weeks!
Nevertheless we laugh a lot again. We don’t get through Act Two so we will carry on with it on Thursday.

Thursday 26th January
We are missing a few important members of cast tonight which cannot be helped but we all get more and more confused as different cast members stand in. The play is all about mistaken identity and we experience it tonight when after all the swapping of roles I am not sure who is who! As we rehearse Chris is having a meeting with the publicity team of Mick Marrison and Martin Freeman. Chris has a brilliant idea to combine the ticket with the programme. Watch this space. I feel like a mother abandoning her baby as I am going away for a couple of weeks but I give everyone a pep talk about learning their lines AGAIN. Chris is in charge. Goodbye for a while.

Chris Gibbs - February 20th, 2012 at 3:18 PM
What have I let myself in for? Gill goes on holiday for 2 weeks leaving me in charge. No problem, what can possibly go wrong?nRecording already scheduled for Thursday as an aid to help the cast learn their lines. So far so good. Then, I get an unexpected call to say one of the cast has unfortunately got to drop out. Frantically rack my brain to think how to resolve, if worst comes to worst will do it myself but luckily, for me, after a few phone calls problem is sorted.nnnThursday 2nd FebruarynCast all arrive at village hall for recording to take place. Chris Lawton has kindly set up the equipment and recording begins. Act One takes a little over 1 hour as does Act Two. Discussion takes place as to what format people require the recording to be in and Chris ventures home to produce!|nnnMonday 6th FebruarynNext on the list, I have a meeting round the kitchen table with Martin and Mick the publicity duo. Martin has come up trumps with a great design and we all agree a timetable for publicity and production of posters and tickets. Martin and Mick go away with their respective tasks and I begin to think about Thursday.nnnThursday 9th February.nI arrive at the village hall and try and get it heated before everyone arrives. Although the weather is grim, all except one of the cast manages to make it and rehearsals for Act One1 begin. I only have to read in the one part and there are definite signs that lines are being learnt. Gill will be pleased. After much laughter, Act One is completed and the rehearsal comes to a close. I remind everyone that next week’s rehearsal is on Wednesday in the school hall and we all go home with lines swimming around in our heads.nnnGill is due back from holiday at the weekend. Things have moved forward in her absence but I will be happy to pass the control back into her capable hands. n

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