The Glory Of Athens - London Premier
Four months after giving
my first reading of The Glory Of Athens, in Athens, I gave my London
Premier performance in a little theatre underneath the arches of Waterloo
I’d got a few encouraging
emails from family and friends wishing me luck, although whenever
they wrote ‘break a leg’ I felt somewhat uncomfortable.
I guess I haven’t been in the trade long enough (at 48, I was
a late starter!)
My (almost) daily
rehearsals were necessary so I wouldn’t forget my lines (nearly
10,000 words!) And every reading and performance over the last few
months was an effort to improve my delivery and make amendments to
my script where necessary. And even though I’d already given
my World Premier performance in a theatre in Amsterdam, the highlight
of my short career as an actor/playwright was always going to be in
In the theatre
foyer with my director, Nigel (right) and David, the lighting and
sound technician, just before giving my UK premier performance of
The Glory of Athens.
The Network Theater Company
is an amateur theatre group with a small theatre venue seating up
to 80 people. Not exactly Her Majesty’s Theatre, but heck, this
was London! Nigel Williams directed the play and David attended to
the lighting and sound effects. And that’s all the help I needed.
This was definitely a low budget production!
The play had been promoted
through the theatre group’s monthly newsletter and they’d
also printed colour posters as well (one of which I managed to grab
as a memento of the occasion).
Then at 7.45pm, on Monday,
November 24, 2003, I walked out onto a brightly lit stage in front
of a curious London audience and fulfilled my dream of performing
my play in a London theatre.
I performed The Glory Of
Athens over 2 nights (Mon-Tue, Nov 24-25) to a couple of very different
Opening night was the smaller
audience, but I had more attention on Monday than the following night
because I was being photographed throughout the entire play. There
were lots of photos taken, so I definitely won’t be short of
But Tuesday night’s
audience was larger, about the same size I had in Amsterdam. They
were a very responsive audience too, laughing at all the right places.
I also felt my performance was much better on that night, probably
due to the combination of a larger audience and the absence of photographers.
When I wrote my play, I
didn’t realize how time consuming it would be. It took me 4
weeks to write my play, but my commitment to perform it has kept me
rehearsing and performing ever since! So yesterday I rewrote The Glory
Of Athens to suit a cast of 7 actors, and that’s how I’d
like to see it performed in the future. I’ve had my moment of
glory, so I’m happy for others to keep my play alive through
their performances. And I’m flattered to see an ongoing interest
in my play in France and Holland, so it will soon be translated into
both their languages.
So will I ever act again?
Even though I’m no Tom Cruise, I’m sure I could be tempted
to get under the spotlight again. But it’ll always be just for
the first time I’d performed my play without a script was only
3 months ago, whenever I think back to my London Premier performance,
I’ll always think, “Gee, I was bloody good!”
stop for any serious Beatles fan.
In The Beatles’ Footsteps
In the early 60’s
my sister, Sonia, was a huge Beatles fan. At 16, she was so keen on
them that she put together a couple of magnificent Beatles scrap books
(which unfortunately don’t exist any more). I was only 8 when
she bought their first 2 albums and I guess my sister had given me
a pretty good sales pitch, because I remember playing those records
repeatedly and writing down the lyrics to all of their songs. I was
fascinated by their music and fantasized at how wonderful it would
be to write and perform songs like they did.
So when I found myself
in London recently, much earlier than I’d expected, I thought
I’d see if I could find the pedestrian crossing that The Beatles
made famous by walking across it and using the photo on their Abbey
Earlier that day I’d
met up with my Aussie mate, Kevin Kuek (we’d also got together
in Paris last year) and after a short chat over a cuppa coffee, we
began our search for Abbey Road. The search didn’t look too
promising until we finally walked into a music store and the shopkeeper,
an older guy, was able to give us the directions we needed.
“Take the underground
and get off at St. Johns Wood Station,” he said. “The
pedestrian crossing is just outside the Abbey Road Studios which is
only about a 4 to 5 minute walk from the station.”
Well, as soon
as we got off at the station, Kev noticed a Beatles Memorabilia café
in the station. We were definitely in Beatles territory now, and a
quick look at the locality map on the wall showed us where Abbey Road
was and highlighted the Studio location as well.
Soon we were outside
the Abbey Road Studios. The white concrete fence had been freshly
painted, yet it was still covered in graffiti written by Beatles fans.
Lots of ‘Beatles Forever’ and ‘I love John’
messages, along with people trying to immortalize themselves by writing
their own names and the date of their visit. These graffiti scribbles
were all less than 2 weeks old, because every month the painters come
in and give the fence a fresh coat of paint.
I was only
one of many fans who continuously stopped traffic in order to re-enact
the Beatles' famous Abbey Road photo.
“Take my photo walking
across the crossing,” I said to Kev.
Five minutes later we’d
taken 3 shots of me crossing ‘like a Beatle’. I’d
even managed to persuade Kev to make a crossing as well. Funnily enough,
two other couples were also going through the same exercise. So in
the space of about 10 minutes, and with each crossing, we’d
managed stop the traffic at least a dozen times!
But I guess the
motorists are used to stopping at the Abbey Road pedestrian crossing.
And seeing that their historic photo was taken 23 years ago, I guess
they’ll keep stopping every minute or so for another 23 years
article is taken from the ebook,
400-Day LETS Odyssey
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