Merry Meetings

Firstly, welcome to those of you who have signed up to follow the Matchblog in the wake of our recruitment evening and I hope that what you have seen from our previous works will encourage you to get involved in some of our future projects.

Our current project is certainly now beginning to take shape as the jigsaw of ‘All the Great Books (abridged)’ begins to slowly piece together. It has certainly been a blessing with my continued long and slow convalescence to be able to get out, sit, elevate the leg and work with The Matchbox Sized Shakespeare Company once again; and, after a fun and very funny rehearsal yesterday, clichĂ© as it is, I can assure you that ‘laughter is the best medicine’. More news from that front in the very near future, of course, alongside a taster or two from rehearsals in the next couple of weeks. I will also be publishing links to audition speeches for ‘The Accrington Pals’ in the next few days and hope, as I said at the outset, to see a few of you there on the 10th.

However from one regiment in a future production to another from the past, as my delve into the archive takes us back to March 2009 and our anthology evening of “‘A Merry Regiment of Women’ and Other Plays.” This project was born out of The Curse of ‘The Crucible’ but this proved to be a fortuitous piece of happenstance which led to a very different sort of evening at St. Francis Church Hall.

Following the lead actor pulling out of the, then scheduled, Arthur Miller play about the Salem Witch Trials, and with successive searches proving futile, things had come to something of a crisis. A play needed to go on but it was not going to be ‘The Crucible’ Thus in a momentous summit meeting at Normanhurst it was decided that Pat Williams and Mike Downing would share the workload in the time provided and produce an evening of short plays and vignettes which would all be loosely linked, the climax of this being Rae Shirley’s irreverent, ironic and iambic ‘Merry Regiment’ This play had as its central conceit a gathering of Shakespeare’s most famed women, Lady Macbeth, Cleopatra, Kate, Desdemona, Juliet and her Nurse discussing the availability and quality of roles in the Bard’s plays, interrupted at various points by three of Shakespeare’s men, each offering their own perspective. Fast paced, fun and flighty it was a rare occasion for me to watch a play that I had seen nothing of previously, not even stumbling into rehearsals, and was a wonderful conclusion to an evening of fun theatre which had been preceded by a series of delightful sketches and with George Bernard Shaw’s ‘The Inca of Perusalem’.

Termed a comedietta, this latter piece was not one I was familiar with and was, as I recall, of a slightly absurd bent but fast paced and humorous, allowing many of our talented comedy performers opportunity to show off their timing and wit. As for the pithy vignettes, sandwiched in between the larger works, these showcased our very own Dot Pullan alongside Zoe Teverson, a former regular of the Matchbox, but I have to admit the titles seem to have eluded my memory at the moment. I would be extremely grateful if anyone would furnish me with that information in the comments section below. In all, another marvellous night and one to happily revisit with a nostalgic glance of a photo or three.

Thus I will leave you with that, wish you a splendid week, and, as I said at the outset, I’ll be back here in a few days with some updates about forthcoming events.

Until then, take care