On Friday 7th May 2010 a good size audience took their seats round small tables in the Hub, Altrincham. There was a festive atmosphere, with the hall and tables decked out in with a Midsummer’s Night theme. Speculation mounted as the audience sipped their drinks and viewed the stage area. Black cloth was draped over a large object that looked like an ambulance. A saxophonist, African drummer and guitarist played music in front of a red brick wall.
Behind the scenes, a makeshift changing room, make-up room and Green Room was buzzing as the actors muttered their lines and put the final touches to their appearances. Mazi, our make-up assistant, who has been with us from the start of rehearsals, transformed Emmanuel Fabiyi into Oberon. Our film Oberon had left, and Emmanuel stepped into the breach with a week to go. He is clean-shaven with very short hair. The original Oberon had long dreadlocks and a beard!
A wig sorted the hair, and Mazi applied the skills he learnt in Iran to painstakingly create a beard, hair by hair. You can see the results! Did anyone notice the difference between the film and the stage Oberon?
The narrator, selling his Big Issues, took up his pitch and bantered with the audience. The lights went down and Act 1, Scene One began, on the screen. Each character had their own theme music, and the live musicians continued with those themes as the film ended and the live actors took to the stage.
I’m not giving any more away, you need to come on Saturday 15th May to the Zion theatre to see for yourself. Our guys were amazing. They played their socks off, the audience laughed and clapped with delight. When Clare, as Titania, came out looking regal in her wedding dress, on the arm of her handsome Theseus, the audience burst into spontaneous applause. Clare will never forget that.
Shakespeare, with actors from the homeless community? We must be mad. But we did it! That was just a practice. You need to see the real thing for yourselves!