Members

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A message from our chair

Well it’s been a while since I’ve been in touch, but a fair few things have been going on and there’s more coming as well.

Like the rest of you I’ve been living every day hoping that soon things will change and we could get back to normal, or at least some semblance of normal. But it seemed like one step forward and two back.

However, the vaccine has changed everything. At last we have the possibility of things getting back to the way they were. Not immediately, but sometime in a future not too far away. We have to plan for next spring and the hope that we may be able to perform Pirates of Penzance in front of a live audience. This will depend on a number of things. Initially we won’t be able to rehearse in person so we may have to do some blended work there, combining Zoom with limited face-to-face. Where we rehearse will also be an issue. Finally, we really need all our members on board if we’re to have a viable chorus of sisters, pirates and police, so get thinking about any possible new members or members who haven’t been around for a while.

Those of you who have been taking part in our regular weekly sessions will know that we had a really good, fun, performance of The Merryman and his Maid. A great evening was had by all, including our guests for the evening from other societies.

A huge thank you must go to all who made this venture possible, Robin, Martin, Willie, Ellen and all the soloists.

Our next project is a Zoom performance of The Mikado which we had hoped to perform live last year. We are putting a cast together and hope for even more numbers to join us for this venture. We will have the same incredible technical and musical geniuses, Martin and Willie, who, building on their experiences in the last performance, will be waiting for your recordings.

We continue to have social evenings whilst we rehearse for our performances and these will continue as we go on in Zoom. Amongst the plans is to have a Desert Island Disc evening, a ‘What got you into G&S’ members selection, quizzes and chats.

But above all we want to keep all our members singing and meeting as much as possible. I hope the next time you hear from me, it’ll be to announce our Pirates of Penzance plans.

Keep singing!

Update on Society plans

As many of you will have read, all ONFife theatres will remain closed until at least April/May 2021, and it will probably take a while for some of our audience to feel confident about going to theatres again. The Management Committee has therefore taken the decision to postpone The Pirates of Penzance until February 2022, given the seasonal commitments of many who might be involved. Auditions will take place in March 2021, and details notified nearer the time. We also intend to perform  a concert version of The Mikado in June 2021.

To keep us all in touch, we are intending to have a series of social events, on-line and in person (once it’s feasible). The first of these will be a Zoom Mikado sing-song on Wednesday 17 June at 7.30pm.

Other suggestions include quizzes, a socially-distanced walk and G&S speakers. Let us have your good ideas! As well as our regular members, auditionees, lapsed members and potential members will be welcome!

It would be lovely if members were prepared to continue to pay as much of their subscriptions as possible throughout this difficult time as the Society continues to have some outgoings.

We shall be prepared to respond to any changes in the COVID-19 situation that will let us get together safely.

Looking forward to seeing everyone on 17 June!

50 Glorious Years!

No, not for the Society quite yet, but 50 years on the stage for our founder member Robin Ożóg. Robin is pictured here receiving his 50th Year Award from NODA Scotland Councillor, Stuart McCue-Dick.

Admittedly “that happened some time ago”, to quote Nanki-Poo – it was reported on in the November NODA magazine at this link, and we missed it at the time – but when better to catch up than on Frederic’s 41st birthday? After all, that was a role that Robin played in Dunfermline way back in 1974.

Next week Robin will be playing the part of Don Alhambra with Kirkcaldy Gilbert & Sullivan Society in The Gondoliers. NODA tells us that this will be his 122nd show; our own programme reveals that it also marks what must be a record, for Robin will then have played every single male principal part in the opera, from tenor to baritone, and romantic lead to ‘undertaker’, via a certain “Castilian hidalgo of ninety-five quarterings”! Well done, Robin, on this richly-deserved recognition of your contribution to amateur theatre.

NODA presentations

NODA awards were presented on-stage after the matinee performance on Saturday 22 February by Stuart McCue-Dick, Councillor for NODA (Scotland), with two other NODA personnel in attendance – Dorothy Johnstone, Regional Representative for District 6 (Edinburgh area) and reviewer for this show, and our very own Mike Pendlowski, appearing as his alter ego, the Regional Representative for District 7 (Fife).

These awards recognising service to amateur theatre went to:

  • Joan Bell: 30 year  Silver Bar
  • Geoff Strong: 30 year Silver Bar
  • Morag Riley: 25 year Long Service Medal
  • Mary Alexander: 20 year Badge
  • Clare White: 20 year Badge

This post will work its way down the page, but you can see all the recent presentation history at this link.

What NODA thought …

Dorothy Johnstone attended our Saturday matinée and reported on behalf of NODA:

An open stage revealed a stunning set with a group of sailors setting the scene meandering across the quarter deck of HMS Pinafore. These sailors then danced throughout the overture treating us to hornpipes and more balletic styles of dance. A novel concept which worked really well. The multi-level set with its many barrels and boxes strategically placed was used to great advantage. Although stylised in many ways in the manner of Gilbert and Sullivan there was a real freshness and originality about this production, especially in the use of props. Everything Little Buttercup sang about in her opening number was produced from her basket, inflatable ice cream cones and unicorn life belts appeared in the ever-popular “Never mind the why and wherefore”, and particularly impressive were the ever-changing hats worn by Sir Joseph Porter corresponding to his status as he climbed the ladder from office boy to ‘Ruler of the Queen’s Navy’. Clever!

The raucous group of sailors were in fine voice in the opening number and were disciplined and light-footed in their moves and routines using their hats. An appealing and sparkling Ralph Rackstraw (Geoff Lee) immediately gained the sympathy of the audience as he sang of his hopeless love for Josephine (Gillian Robertson), his captain’s daughter. There was a real rapport between these two, both convincing in conveying the turmoil of their feelings for each other in their duet “Refrain, audacious tar” and in Josephine’s aria “The hours creep on apace” which was wonderful and so effortless. Another clever touch here was the subtle setting left and right depicting rich and poor as Josephine weighs up the pros and cons of her future in matrimony. Josephine’s other suitor, Sir Joseph Porter (Robin Ożóg), gave a spirited performance with perfect diction and articulation in both spoken and sung word. Her father Captain Corcoran (Ross Main) looked well as a dignified upper-crust Captain, meaningfully expressing his emotions in the the lovely “Fair moon to thee I sing”. Good lighting added real atmosphere to this scene.

Buttercup (Liz Landsman) was obviously well loved by the crew and came across as a warm, caring woman who maintained her accent throughout and was quite mystical in her duet with Corcoran telling him that “Things are seldom what they seem” and finally revealing what she had done “A many years ago”. The motley crew members, the scheming almost loathsome Dick Deadeye (Nathan Macaulay-Dicks), Bill Bobstay (Jack Archibald) and Bob Becket (Willie Campbell), gave believable performances. Cousin Hebe doesn’t have a great deal to sing or say but Sinead Black injected real character into the part and looked quite charming.

This was a well-directed production with an accomplished principal cast and a very well vocally balanced chorus of sailors, sisters, cousins and aunts. There is certainly more for the men to do in HMS Pinafore than there is for women, but it is rare to see a bigger male then female chorus as was the case here. There was a real blend of voices in duets, ensembles and big chorus numbers, particularly in the finale of Act 1 and the rousing “He is an Englishman” where the part singing was most evident. A sympathetic orchestra supported the singers. The well-choreographed company movement and business using hats was well drilled and executed in a slick, confident manner. Colourful costumes and effective lighting enhanced this most enjoyable and well thought out production.

Thank you so much for inviting me along.

Love’s old sweet song?

We may be enjoying the talents of some newcomers to the Society in this year’s production, but we also have years of experience in the two blue-blooded parts of Sir Marmaduke Pointdextre and Lady Sangazure. Encourage all your friends to come to see Robin Ożóg and Liz Landsman rekindle love in each other’s company. Or is it the warmth of her furs that excites Lady Sangazure’s passion?

Our 2020 show

At our EGM on Wednesday 12 December it was unanimously agreed that our production in 2020 should be HMS Pinafore.

What will we be playing in 2021? Well, given The Sorcerer and HMS Pinafore as predecessors, any Savoyard could take a punt at what the 50th anniversary show might be!

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Next appearance

The Pirates of Penzance 2022

Apart from ongoing Zoom activity, which includes a concert version of The Mikado on 16 June 2021, our next show on stage in the Carnegie Hall will be The Pirates of Penzance from Thursday to Saturday 17–19 February 2022!

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