A Little Theatricality
Locked Down in the Fylde
This is a brief note to indicate that I have been offered a small part as an extra in the drama being enacted in what is known locally as 'Thornton Little Theatre' (see picture below). Only a short walk from the flat, this municipal centre of culture next to the Library is at a crossroads called appropriately enough 'Four Lanes End' (known to locals as 'Four Lane Ends', which is easier to say). It is even more appropriate that the theatre stands across the main road from the splendid village Cenotaph, its Remembrance Day wreaths to the sacrificial dead fading slowly in the rain.
My matinée performance will be acted out in front of a disconnected virtual audience, the producer and script writer of the current production being that spinner of fine tales and tragicomedies, one M Hancock (known to his critic on the Guardian as 'Door Matt'). Demonstrating admirably democratic credentials, it is hoped that every adult in the country will eventually have a part in this play at one of its many widespread venues, continuing right through to the next pantomime season.
The title of the play is: 'State Pan(dem)ic'. It's a period piece with a limited run and only one costume, which is that of the lead actor. It could be that a real nurse has been cast for this key role, or perhaps a volunteer from the Salvation Army (motto 'Blood and Fire'), which might be more fitting and no doubt represents a saving of public money.
I only have a walk-on and speak-only-when-spoken-to part, which is followed by the taking of a seat, the baring of an arm and a looking the other way. One wince is also required. This is something I do every day and had further practice recently in what is known ironically as the local Health Centre: it was my contribution to reducing the incidence of seasonal influenza. This time, on stage in the Little Theatre, I have a much larger role to play, since I am actually helping to save the NHS. I had hoped, indeed anticipated, that in my later years it would save me, but now it does seem to need my help following its 10-year-long ravage by the Tories.
As a finale (but hopefully not my last act), I will have my fifteen minutes of muted but observed 'waiting for Godot' moments (I'm good at that), in case I need resuscitation from the stress of the performance. If all's well that has ended well, I will be free to exit stage right (or left) and leave the theatre at the end of Hancock's Half Hour to resume normal life on the stage that Shakespeare wrote was 'all the world'.
There should be an encore for me in a few weeks' time (although it really ought to be 21 days) and perhaps we thespians will meet for a repeat performance at this time next year.
I thought that you might want to know.
PS This is the first piece I have written in recent years without once using the word 'Brexit' (apart from that use of the word 'Brexit').