The Play’s the Thing

Witches Abroad, Monstrous ProductionsWith 5 weeks to go until Witches Abroad’s opening night, we had our first rehearsal at The Gate. It’s an old church converted into an arts centre and we’ve been there twice before to watch Monstrous Productions’ Pratchett plays, but last night we got to go back stage. We were excited. Exploring places is our thing. Not sure how we’re all going to fit in to the dressing room though. We’ll probably follow our usual protocol of changing in toilets or the car. That’s not the glamorous image of actors, we know, but then again, we’re not actors. And we’re really good at changing in toilets and cars.

The warm up game consisted of two things we’re most uncomfortable with – closing your eyes in public and having people touch you as you walk around. So we were allowed to guard the steps to make sure no-one hurt themselves. One guy did, but he walked into the side barrier, not the steps. We weren’t guarding the sides. You’d think that having been part of this since November that we’d be completely at ease with everyone and be the typical us that our friends are used to, especially since everyone there is so nice. But we retreat into socially awkward us in big groups. We know we come across as aloof, probably even unfriendly, but we’re really not, even if we do immediately go and sit on the other side of the room from everyone else 😀 Sorry, fellow cast members. We actually like you but there’s a lot of you so we’ll continue sitting on the other side by ourselves looking awkward. If you’ve watched our Calamityville episodes, you may have noticed that when we’ve done group vigils, we don’t speak until we’re forced to. Socially Awkward Penguins isn’t a choice, it’s a lifestyle. Though we did speak to two guys last night. About the torture of epilating. Check us out enhancing our social skills!

We thought that our inability to lose our Socially Awkward Penguin state meant we were regressing, but our MCT therapist assured us we’re not. Now the anxiety has lessened, we’re left with our pathological make-up. Which unfortunately in our case, is Socially Awkward Penguin. If you ask our mum, she’ll tell you that even when we were 18 months old, we’d refuse to go into a play park if there was even one other child in there. We’d stand outside and wait until they had gone. (Standing and staring, just like the snake twins.) But our therapist said we must see this as an advantage. We’re playing creepy characters who don’t speak, so if we were as confident and comfortable as everyone else, we would be less convincing in our roles.

It was fantastic getting to see parts of the play performed at the Gate. It seems so real now. We can’t wait for the dress rehearsals. The speed runs of some scenes were brilliant. And the good news is, we terrify Caroline, who plays Lilith, every time we walk on stage to join her in our first scene. All we do is walk on, stare and nod. See, we said we were born to play creepy twins. In one scene we get to run behind a curtain and stay there in the dark for the rest of the scene. That might be our favourite bit. We love small dark spaces, they relax us. As our time spent in Newsham Park’s naughty cupboards and morgue fridge will testify.

It’s been an interesting experience to be involved in a play, especially as we were in the audience for Mort and Wyrd Sisters, so to be on the other side is strange. Part of us wishes we could be in the audience with our friends, so we’d get to see the whole play, because it really is brilliant. It doesn’t matter how many times we hear some of the lines, we still laugh. We’re in awe of everyone who have already learned their lines, in particular Zoe, who plays Nanny Ogg – she’s been off script for a while. All we have to do is remember when we walk on. Despite being Socially Awkward Penguins, we haven’t regretted saying yes. How many people get to say they’ve acted in a play of one of Terry Pratchett’s books? A year ago, no amount of cajoling/bribery/being held at gun point would have persuaded us to take part.

We’ve started reading Witches Abroad and Wyrd Sisters and we can’t read Granny, Nanny and Magrat’s dialogue without hearing it being spoken by Ellen, Zoe and Lowri who play them. It’s strange but also nice. If you love Pratchett, come and see the play. If you’ve never read a Pratchett book, come and see the play anyway. If you hate Pratchett… *tumble weed blows past* come and see the damn play. It’s well worth the money and you’re helping a great cause, as the money gets donated to Alzheimer’s UK.

Witches Abroad is on April 8th – 11th. Tickets are £8 or £6 concessions and you can buy them here or we have paper ones.

Witches Abroad

Warlock says “come and see Witches Abroad.”

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