My recent events and, as it turns out, positive experiences with performers led to a bit of retrospective musing on encounters past. In this business we hire lots of professional people for everything from in house training courses to open air theatre productions and every manner of workshop and activity in between.
I’ve had lots of wonderful experiences with some very talented people. Re-enactors, for example, are excellent company, enthusiastic about what they do and always keen to share a tankard or two around the camp fire of an evening. They also tend to have guns and fun costumes to play with. I shall be writing much more about them as we progress through the year.
Three of the best less-than-professional performances are:
The Outdoor Theatre Production
During an outdoor production of Peter Pan the lead actor became vexed that some of the children in the audience were not sitting still, rapt by his performance. They were running about, playing, and pretty much ignoring his theatrics. My best friend and colleague was stood at the back of the audience, on duty. When an opportune moment arose he strode over to her and hissed his displeasure at the situation. Couldn’t she do something to control this unruly crowd of toddlers? She gazed back steadily at Peter Pan and retorted, “Oh grow up”.
He did not laugh like I did, it has to be said.
Paper Hat Maker
I can’t even remember now why we thought this would be a fun thing to do. How specialised an entertainer you must be, to corner the paper hat making business. So, he spent the afternoon making cardboard bonnets with the public, getting a little bit narky if you didn’t take his craft seriously and put too many curly ribbons on your creation, and trying, very hard, to persuade my best friend and colleague to come up and see his collection of paper headgear some time. This situation led to a humorous reworking of that Beatles classic “Paperback Writer” (Paper Hat Maker) that I have yet to tire of.
Hired to deliver a series of training days, Trainer Trash had the appearance of a gameshow host and exuded sleaze. He was another one who could not resist wrecking his precarious dignity on the rocks of female attraction, ie my best friend and colleague. To be fair, she is gorgeous and funny and being attracted to her demonstrates excellent taste. There was a strange irrational optimism prompting Paper Hat Maker and Trainer Trash to make their respective moves, though. A blind belief that, despite all we know of the laws of attraction and selection, this lovely young girl would want to hook up with a married man with bouffant ginger hair and shiny slacks. Or one who makes and wears bonnets constructed from coloured tissue paper and glue. Still, I digress. Trainer Trash had finished his session and was relaxing in that laid back, legs crossed pose, while we girlies went to put the kettle on for a post-learning cup of tea. Myself and another, older female colleague were in the kitchen while our lovely young colleague took Trainer Trash his brew. We listened in wonder at the kitchen door as he attempting to lure her back to his hotel for dinner. As she made her excuses we couldn’t resist opening the door and walking into the room, with matching questioning smiles. At this point Trainer Trash was forced into extending his offer to all three of us, making out that was at he’d meant all along, of course. It was delightful. He had to retrieve his monogrammed hanky from his top pocket to mop his brow while we pretended to seriously consider the offer. You could almost hear his inner anguish. I think I could smell it. Finally we relented. Regretfully we declined his kind offer of dinner. I like to think he may have been genuinely pleased to go home to his wife that night.