React As You Would

Rehearsal proceeds apace. It has to, we’ve only got a month and a half left. But things are proceeding smoothly, all told. The first chunk is written, blocked, and partially rehearsed. The chorus are yelling nicely, and twitching and gurning on time, just as the Director desires.

This week should see some more pages of script, hopefully with more lines for ME on them. But who is my character? Obviously people have expectations, but as I don’t really resemble the Marquis de Sade physically (thanks) how should I do it? Stalking elegantly? Lurching depravedly (sp?). Time and script will tell. The important thing is to have fun. And remember your lines. And entertain the audience. And GET IT RIGHT.

Monday’s rehearsal brought an interesting development. I was asked to arrive late, which made me suspect something was up. And so it was.

When I arrived, before entering the room, I heard singing and chanting throught the door. Intriguing and yet – somehow unnerving. I was reminded of the writings of H P Lovecraft – as the hapless soon-to-be-driven-insane hero witnesses the noisome drums and flutes of some nightmarish ritual. There was only one thing to do. I grasped the doorhandle, twisted, opened, entered, and confronted Mike, my arch-nemesis, piano player for rent, singing teacher to the rich enough, and recently ordained father. He saw me, pointed me out to the rest of the cast, whom he appeared to have organised into some form of army.

“There he is – try it out! But don’t forget – don’t touch him!”

And then to me, “React as you would!”

And on his word of command, the cast, or should I say mob, rabble, horde, surged forward, chanting some demonic Gallic witchcraft, through clenched teeth and lips flecked with the yellowed foam of their intent.

I reacted as I would. I ran from that place. Or at least across the room, but as I did, they turned like a flock of birds, or more aptly, piranha and came for me again, pounding the air with their fists and gutteral ejaculations. There was nowhere to run. I span on the spot, hoping against hope for a chance of flight, but no escape presenetd itself. The swarm surrounded me, drawing ever closer, until their faces, twisted into blasphemous caricatures of humanity, were all I saw, and their breath, a stench from the abysmal pits of the blackest grave, coursed over me, causing me to fall to my knees. Closer they came, clutching, chanting, gurning, ever closer, until I was curled into a ball, hands over my head, eyes screwed shut, mouth gaping in the rictus of a soundless scream until – suddenly – there was silence. And then I heard the voice.

Hands up for tea!