Monday, March 03, 2008

Springfest 2008

This week is Springfest week in sunny Buttonwood Bay and I've added the 2008 to the post title just to get some practice writing the year. When you don't write cheques anymore (or checks for my US readers), there aren't many opportunities to become familiar with a new year and now that we've entered the 3rd month of this one, I still tend to think of it as 2007.

Of course that's more likely to be caused by continuous senior moments, but I don't remember.

The week leading up to Springfest saw 5 performances by the BB theatrical group and it was fun to be here for it this year. Our friend Clair was in the 2nd of the 3 short plays performed each night and Mary and Debby were in the 3rd one.

I have to say that none of the plays will linger long in the memory but as many a man would earnestly testify, you can only do the best with what you're given !!

The first play had slight elements of a Brian Rix farce about it and I'm sorry if that reference will go over the top of most people's heads.

I think this photo captures one such element as a man thrusting his face firmly into the bosum of an unsuspecting woman has Brian Rix stamped all over it.

The element, not his face.

The fact that the woman was his wife in the play doesn't detract from her still being 'unsuspecting' as hubby had shown little sign of such affection (or lust) up until this point.

Close body contact of this nature is usually good for a laugh in a theatrical setting and it was well received by the aged audience who probably hadn't seen such intimate contact between two consenting adults since Fred danced with Ginger.

The second play only lasted 11 minutes despite the attempts by a couple of the ham actors to string things out by the unsubtle use of verbal and physical ad-libs.

The play took place in a hotel room and Clair played one of two firemen who entered the room as part of a fire fighting team called out when a fire threatened to engulf the hotel.

It couldn't come too soon for some of us but again, the actors can only perform the lines wot are wrote in the script, so no blame should be attached to them.

As you can see in this photo, Clair was the Neroesque figure who performed "Keep The Home Fires Burning" as the lights went down at the end of the play and made us all realise that those were 11 minutes we'd never get back again.

He was the lucky one as he had no lines to say at all - and based on this fact alone, I'd nominate him for "Best Actor In A Supporting Role" and expect him to romp home with the award.

We then had a short break for cookies and a drink but no one was allowed to leave as the doors had been locked. Only joking. Fire regulations didn't allow that.

Play 3 was based on a much more complicated script that forced the audience to stay awake or risk literally 'losing the plot'. There was a play within a play and both pretty much sucked. But the actors couldn't be faulted for this and performed their roles heroically.

Mary was a trooper and projected an air of experience and confidence that shone like a semi professional beacon lighting up an otherwise less than amateurish storyline.

Was that ok, Mary ?

Her facial expressions were in keeping with the performances of Keaton and Chaplin even if the plot flowed with all the grace of Michael Moore on the balanced beam.

That young lady will go far.

Speaking of young ladies, the play was enhanced by the presence of another actor of repute (who said ill ??) who just happened to be wintering in Buttonwood Bay. Debby played the pivotal role of the Driver Of The Night Express although a touch of cross dressing came into action when she became a man in the play within the play.

This was very confusing for the old gent next to me who had dozed off through the middle section of the play and woke to find Debby transformed into a man by means of a blue boiler suit.

He became much more agitated when she then became the love interest for The Railway Crossing Keeper's Daughter - try saying that in high heels - (the one lying unconscious on stage in this photo - we never did find out why) and when they got close and looked into each others eyes, he was positively drooling.

"Ohhhhh a lesbian play" he whistled into my ear. "Good for Buttonwood". I suspect the whistle came from his hearing aid but as he had a gap between his front two teeth, I can't be positive.

Then like Grandpa Simpson, his head dropped onto his chest and the snoring resumed. I so envied him at that moment.

I have dvd copies of all 3 plays if anyone would like one. Anyone ? Anyone ? Damn I didn't do a very good selling job on them did I ???

So with the theatricals over with, yesterday saw the start of 8 days of Springfest.

First up were the Buttonwood Bay Golden Chords (choral singers - gotta love the name) who treated us to a few tunes in almost perfect harmony.

I'd never heard them perform before and I have to say I was quite impressed by the standard.

I'm not sure what the conductor was doing with the microphone stand in this photo but I think it's just a bad angle. I'm sure that's it.

After the concert came the ice cream social which was set up in the tree shaded area which bordered the lake and utilised the dozens of wooden picnic benches that permanently grace that part of the park.

As usual with events here, the organisation would've made a military man proud and residents were lined up with their tickets which granted them access to the rows of tables groaning under the weight of ice cream and cookies.

Humour is never far from the surface here and this resident was charged with making sure that the single line of people split to go to all the tables so that no one table, the nearest presumably, was swamped with 'customers.'

This is what I meant by organisation - although hitting us with his night stick was taking the humour a bit far. I donno. You give some people a little power and it goes to their hat.

Once past his swinging baton, we found an available serving table and only had to wait a few moments to get a paper bowl with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream and a topping of our choice. Then we'd move on to pick from a selection of cookies and here is where I discovered that Mary wasn't just a talented actress but could also serve up a jolly decent cookie. Two actually.

She's in the light blue top with the white golf visor.

A group of us set up our own camping type chairs in the middle of the trees as we didn't fancy using the picnic benches.

Up on the concrete area behind us, some pleasant instrumental musak was playing away but not at a level to stop the general chit chat that was going on everywhere.

It was all very English in fact - well apart from the weather, and the cookies, and the absence of a cricket match, oh and the lack of a scone or a cucumber sandwich anywhere. I'd have brought out my 3 tier cake stand but didn't think it totally suitable for the occasion.

And so, armed with our rapidly melting ice cream and pair of raisin oatmeal cookies (my choice), we settled down in our camping chairs to discuss hot topics of the day, listen to the non threatening music and once again think ourselves very fortunate to be able to do all this in such beautiful surroundings.

We had a few prize draws to crank up the excitement levels and once these were over and the food was all devoured, we left the woods and again, with the organisation that is the norm for this place, within minutes there was no sign that we'd ever been there. No litter, no cookie crumbs, no forgotten walkers or oxygen tanks. Best of all, no expired residents.

We were all safely away and getting ready for the next event - an evening gospel concert given by 'Gulf Coast' a professional 4 piece close harmony group.

It was ok. I'd have preferred less talk and more singing but I guess I missed the 'gospel' bit in the description.

And hey, that was only Day 1. I'm not sure I can take this pace and I once survived 3 days at Disney World. Of course I was a lot younger then.

I think I need to pace myself.


Daphne said...

Fascinating, of course: and hilarious. I am going to write to The Times and suggest that they appoint you as Theatre Critic forthwith.

Stephen said...

I second that!

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