Whilst perusing my post today, I noticed that my local opera company is putting on a production of “Ruddigore”, a somewhat obscure Gilbert and Sullivan show. Nothing particularly unusual about that except for the fact that the last time I heard anyone mention that show was in 1982 when I starred in a production of it at school.
I say starred. Actually all the big parts went to the sixth formers and as a lowly fifth former I was cast jointly with a friend as the Lead Professional Bridesmaid. Not a huge part. The odd duet and a bit of skipping about the stage. But that didn’t matter. I was in the show and that was the main thing.
It wasn’t that I was a budding actress with a taste for greasepaint and limelight. But my school was all girls and Ruddigore was a joint production with the boys’ school next door. So of course I wanted to be involved. All those rehearsals with boys. At the boys’ school. Too good an opportunity to ignore.
So I learned my lines – all four of them- and practised the songs and then spent a term being directed by an English Master that I didn’t know but was great fun. It was the only big show that I was in and I lapped it up. From the costume fitting to the after show party I thought the whole thing was fantastic.
My eldest is now a performer although she already has far more theatrical experience than I had. It helps to remember all the fun that I had on stage when I am waiting, like now, to go out in the cold and rain to collect her from her rehearsal. And she goes to a mixed school so her motivation is probably slightly more wholesome than mine!