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Rend the air with wailing …


Not just the words being sung during this scene at the end of Act II, when the inhabitants of the ladies’ college at Castle Adamant realise that Hildebrand and his army have stormed their fortress, but also the feeling of the whole company now that the show is over. We had so much fun – all the customary dressing room banter and mutual support and encouragement that we’ve missed since 2020 were back at full strength – and, what is more, our audiences were delighted by a spectacular show. The flier offered “A dramatic concert staging”, and it did much more than that.

Some reactions:

  • “Huge congratulations to everyone involved in Princess Ida tonight. Great chorus singing and the principals were great too! Wonderful to see some new faces – especially young men.” (Frances McCafferty after the Friday performance)
  • “People, to whom I sold tickets, told me they liked the format … they felt involved … they could hear the dialogue … they thought that the staging was very  cleverly skilfully planned – appropriate balance of principals and chorus in the stage area. Amazing performances by principals. Chorus determined to contribute. One person from the matinée said how much he enjoyed the harmonies.” (reported by Ellen Patrick after the run)
  • NODA’s report is at this link.

Thanks to everyone who took part. As Ellen put it: “9 months of rehearsals, postponement, covid, etc., etc., could easily have evaporated to nothing if it hadn’t been for your determination to make it happen.”

Thanks also to Craig Lindsay for taking photographs of the matinée performance, many of which will shortly appear as a slide show.

Tonight’s the night!

The surroundings are different – after all it’s a dramatic concert staging, rather than a full show at Carnegie – but the quality of the singing and acting is “superb, unparalleled” to borrow the words of King Gama (Gordon Horne), seen here exchanging views with Florian (Matthew Sielewicz-Stanhope). Gama gets an uncertain welcome at Hildebrand’s court, but you’ll be “treated as an honoured guest” if you come to see us tonight (Gillespie Memorial Church, Dunfermline) or tomorrow (Limekilns Parish Church). Details at this link. You don’t need to have pre-booked – you can part with £10 at the door – and we’ll guarantee you’ll have “nothing whatever to grumble at” by the end of Act III.

[Thanks to Lady Blanche (Liz Landsman) for the photograph]

A dramatic concert staging

“A dramatic concert staging” is the way that we’re describing our revised plan to put on performances of Princess Ida, the Carnegie Hall not having the facilities that we would need to perform there in May. The show will be just as much fun for audience and performers, though shoe-horned into smaller performance spaces. We’re grateful to the churches that are hosting us, and we invite you to come to see us in action:

7:30pm on Friday 13 May at Gillespie Memorial Church, Dunfermline

2:00pm and 7:30pm on Saturday 14 May at Limekilns Parish Church

You’ll enjoy watching and listening to our chorus and principals in what will be much more than just a concert performance of this rarely-heard work, which will be directed by Rae Lamond and with Willie Campbell conducting.

Tickets are just £10 (£5 for children) from members or our ticket hot-line (07703 483083) or email ku.gro.ssagdnull@selastekcit. Seats won’t be reserved, so we’d encourage you to come early (doors will open 30 minutes before the show starts), especially if you want to buy tickets at the door.

Our next two shows

We’ve been busy so far this year putting on an on-line panto and a Zoom version of The Mikado that attracted rave reviews, as you’ll read at this link.

Our committee have also been working on plans for our next appearance on stage at Dunfermline’s Carnegie Hall. You’ll recall that our 50th anniversary production of The Pirates of Penzance couldn’t happen in 2021 for obvious reasons! Initially we anticipated just one year’s delay. However, ongoing COVID uncertainties, compounded by concerns about theatre upgrades, mean we can’t take the financial risk of producing our usual fully-staged show with orchestra until February 2023.

But we’re really excited to tell you that, having realised that many members liked the idea of performing an entire operetta (rather than a concert), the committee decided on a semi-staged production of Princess Ida. There won’t be hired scenery, but there will be appropriately-themed costumes supplied by members, and we’ll have John Allen’s legendary lighting. Willie Campbell will be our MD, and the production will be directed by Rae Lamond. We know from Rae’s 2012 concert version of Princess Ida how much she can achieve with limited resources but limitless vision and originality.

Details are yet to be finalised, but put Saturday 19 February 2022 in your diaries as a chance to see an operetta that has some wonderful music, but is rarely seen in a stage production.

Our trip to Titipu was a success!

 

The images above were taken from the Backstage feed of our Zoom performance of The Mikado on 16 June. They tell the story of an excellent show, from early doors to final curtain. There are 97 slides which take around 5 minutes to play, but you can stop at any point by hovering over the image, or select the image you want to look at from the filmstrip below the caption line.

As you’ll see from the chat extracts below, everyone enjoyed themselves. There were a few technical glitches – thanks to Joy for reading in when Backstage (Helen) sent the direct message to Ko-Ko (Robin) “Katisha has gone offline!” – but otherwise the evening went smoothly. Thanks to Robin, Willie and Martin for making the production possible artistically, musically and technically.

Lucy and Ed: congratulations to all, really fun and such a great way to sing “together.” A joyous shout indeed!!

KatyW: Absolutely fabulous! And no covid tests needed to travel to Titipu! Huge well done to everyone!

ElspethW: that was a great evenings entertainment. well done all

Susan: Thank you for a great show – such fun to sing along, and you all obviously were enjoying yourselves so much.

GillR: Extraordinary! What an incredible, achievement and fun evening! Thank you so much everyone for bringing huge smiles to our faces!!

Zoom Mikado on 16 June

Our Zoom performance of The Mikado is at 7:30pm on 16 June. Please log on at least five minutes before the show starts – the waiting room will open up shortly after 7:00pm. If you haven’t yet received log-on information, drop an email to our hard-working Administrator, Ellen Patrick, at ku.gro.ssagdnull@nelle.

As with the panto, music has been pre-recorded by members – plus a wide a variety of friends from near and far – and you can sing along (muted) to the end result of work by a cast of nearly 50. See if you can spot your friends in the rolling credits in the slideshow above. [As with all such sliders, just hover your cursor over the image to stop it moving]

Remember … this is a one-off, and “such an opportunity will not occur again”!

Plans for 2021/22

Members have been enjoying regular weekly sessions that combine an opportunity to sing with a chance to chat and to extend our knowledge of Gilbert and Sullivan. Recently we had a really good, fun, performance of The Merryman and his Maid, a pantomime devised and directed by Robin Ożóg. A great evening was had by all, including our guests for the evening from other societies. Maybe we’ll even get an opportunity later in the year to present the work in live performance!

Last June we had to postpone our planned concert version of The Mikado, and can’t perform it live this year either, so our next project is a Zoom performance on 16 June. As with the panto, music will be pre-recorded by members, and you can sing along (muted) to the end result. We are putting a cast together and hope for even more numbers to join us for this venture.

Given the ongoing and uncertain COVID-19 situation, we’re not able to meet in person, and it’s likely that we won’t be able to commence music rehearsals as usual in August. However, we still plan to perform The Pirates of Penzance in front of a live audience, and the practicalities of how we prepare for that are being worked out.

If you’re an audience member, make sure that Thursday to Saturday 17–19 February 2022 is in your diary; if you fancy the idea of being part of the cast, why not get in touch today and join our Zoom community? For more information, drop an email to Ellen (ku.gro.ssagdnull@nelle).

Next appearance

Pirates 2023

Your next chance to see the Society on stage will be on 16–18 February 2023, when we are back at Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline, for our twice-delayed 50th anniversary production of The Pirates of Penzance.

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