It's always a stressful time, especially the build-up to the performance when the cast's lack of urgency, inability to learn their lines or turn up in any numbers to rehearsals leads to much wailing and many sleepless nights on behalf of the directors. The likelihood of the performance being a disaster is more than a possibility - it's a probablity.
However, miraculously it never is. The Club pulls out all the stops and while 'triumph' would be an exaggeration, once again, they do well. We breathe again.
Come March it's time to put the show on at home in the Village Hall - except this year due to the way that Easter has fallen we're a little late and they will be on stage this Saturday. By now of course, any urgency the cast mustered for the County Competition has evaporated and lines have been forgotten and there isn't even the spur of The Dance Afterwards as encouragement. We feel the stress levels begin to rise once again....
Chirbury and Marton entered the One+ Competiton - rather than produce a full-blown drama they have a 6 minute spot on stage in which no more than 10 of them can perform anything of their choosing. They chose to do a take on the popular 'Mrs Brown's Boys'. What else could they call it but 'Farmer Brown's Boys'?
Well, a cast of 10 with a witty one-liner each made for about 5 minutes of script. Blink and you've missed it. For Whitchurch that met the criteria but on home ground we needed to put more to it - which is where we, the 'Advisory', got together, sharpened our pencils and got creative.
Where to start? Well 'knickers' always gets a laugh. Or a smirk. Or a snigger. So 'knickers it was. Our production could start with
And so it came to pass that props were needed.
Big Knickers were no problem and three pairs in most fetching pink, lilac and cream (size 6OS) were bought from Tuffin's Pound Store. Bargain. But the thong - the G String - was another matter. Thongs are seemingly unavailable in rural south Shropshire. I was beginning to think that I'd have to get the sewing machine and a few scraps of ribbon out when as a last resort I tried an outfitters in Bishop's Castle.
I call it an outfitters because it's a store stacked with items of clothing and footwear of every description for every sort of person and purpose - and if you don't fancy ready made there is wool so you can knit-your-own. There's a veritable mountain of shoes and boots and a cobbler's workshop - complete with hoary old cobbler - at the back.
I made a bee-line for the underwear department. It was fairly comprehensive, again most tastes apart from the truly outrageous were catered for - but sadly there were no thongs or G Strings on view. I'd have to ask. At this point I rather hoped that there was someone else apart from the old cobbler working there.
Indeed there was. "Do you have any thongs...G strings?" I asked.
She looked at me blankly.
"Erm, those uncomfortable knickers that erm...you know, erm, string up the back." I continued, hoping to avoid the words 'crack of bum' "They're not for me - they're for the Young Farmers Drama."
The penny dropped. "Cheese-cutters!" she exclaimed and led me to the last 3 pairs in Shropshire, adding that somewhere in the store there were more. Plenty in fact because they weren't a good seller. (Well, no I can see that they wouldn't go well in this temple of comfort-based clothing.) 1 pair was sufficient. I could have them for a £1. Bargain...though obviously not as much a bargain as the 3 giant size pairs bought previously.
Cheese-cutters then. Ah! The importance of language. If only I'd known the local terminology I could have saved myself a lot of searching.
P.S. If you're passing they'll be on stage in Marton Village Hall on Saturday evening around 8.30pm.
There will also be cheese, wine and puddings. While I can't promise a slick and polished performance (although there are still 3 days to go and I live in hope) I feel fairly certain that it will be, as ever, a good night out. All welcome.