A theatre group are putting on Aladdin, the pantomime, but is there more drama backstage than on it?
An empty stage is, in my experience, one of the saddest sights you can see. For a place which has housed so many incredible performances to be devoid of all life is criminal.
I sit, legs stretched in front of me, in centre stage. I am in costume; an Arabian Belly dancer type of outfit with lots of veils. It's an emerald green colour, one of my favourites. Tomorrow night, I will be stood on this stage, in front of a packed house. Tomorrow I will be: The Slave of the Ring in Aladdin.
I look round; people are stood chatting, awaiting instruction while others are warming up, doing vocal exercises and stretching their muscles. It's just what a stage should look like just before a dress rehearsal. We're going to spend the entire evening working here, getting everything right, before opening night tomorrow. I am beyond nervous.
"Excuse me! Can everyone listen for the health and safety talk!" Jenna Hartley, our stage manager and assistant director was trying to draw the attention of the cast. We gathered round. The safety talk is the same every year, 'this door in case of fire.... meet here... blah blah blah', so I phased out, instead looking around to admire the costumes our wardrobe staff had put together.
Wishy Washy's costume was brilliant; a bright, cheerful chinese robe. The chorus all had similar chinese robes, while the two handmaidens had beautiful chinese dresses. Widow Twankey's costume was by far the best, and there would be many more just as incredible for the actor playing her. Gerald was an old theatre actor, who adored being dressed up as the dames of panto. Widow Twankey was his favourite role. So Shi, played by Isabella Hurst had a beautiful light pink chinese dress, and an absoloutely gorgeous wig. But who I really couldn't take my eyes off was Aladdin.
'Aladdin', our director and choreographer has the most incredible blue eyes you have ever seen. I would willingly drown in them. As we sit here 'listening' to the health and safety speech, I can see her resting her hand slightly on her hip, leaning her weight to her right. She's in her Aladdin costume; a just above the knee red chinese shirt, with black hotpants underneath, black leather boots to the knee and a hat that matches the shirt. She's also got shimma tights on, curtesy of her dance classes. To me, she's beautiful. Her blue eyes, her dazzling smile, her light brown hair... all of it makes her perfect to me, despite the fact others view her as nothing beautiful.
The speech finished, and I was snapped out of my adoration as 'Aladdin' walked up to the front to tell us what we were doing today.
"As most of you know, my name is Cara. This evening we're going to do a full run through, if we come to a problem we fix it and move on. By the end of it we should have a clear view on how everything is going to run tomorrow and for the rest of the shows. All clear?"