Sunday, June 17, 2007

stagestruck at midsummer

Around midsummer my wife and I become stagestruck. It starts in early June with visits to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and this year was special because we got into the final performance in the old theatre before it closed – it was Coriolanus. There’s a nice busy atmosphere in Stratford upon Avon around Midsummer – it’s nice to hear the different accents Japanese, American/Canadian and a few French.

It’s a surprise to find that each year significant numbers of Japanese visitors come to enjoy Shakespeare. Glen Walford who is directing ‘The Comedy of Errors’ at the Ludlow Festival this year has just returned from Japan where she regularly directs Shakespeare plays in Japanese theatres.

The Ludlow Festival takes us over for a period of four weeks or so. I’ve been preoccupied updating the Festival website – posting pictures of the cast and making last minute changes. Today we’ve been in the Castle arranging things backstage ready for the arrival of the costumes. Next week the company will be holding rehearsals so I can leave them to it and get back to painting.

Wardrobe management is one of the less glamorous jobs in the theatre and I don’t know why my wife enjoys it. It has its compensations because she has worked with some charming actors who remember her. Last week we were at Malvern to see David Suchet in ‘The Last Confession.’ Another member of the cast was Clifford Rose who she had ‘dressed’ at Ludlow on couple of occasions. She just had to leave him a card and a box of chocolate fudge at the stage door. She was delighted when he rang her up the following day to thank her – that was a nice gesture from an actor who has is well-known for the work he has done in the theatre and on television.

Here’s the set for this year’s Ludlow Festival play under construction – let’s hope the rain goes away!

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