watervole: (Poole Mummers)
 Think of this as a living Christmas card!

There's two lines missing at the start, so mentally add:
"In comes I, Old Father Christmas,
"Welcome in or welcome not, I hope Old Father Christmas will never be forgot."


I find the ad libs and alterations are half the fun of performing this.

Our normal Turkish knight was ill, so we had a substitute. Paul came up trumps and did the part perfectly.  I loaned him an old brass envelope opener, and I love what he did with it.  Then Graham (St George) worked it into his routine - did you spot what he did with it?  None of these things were actually rehearsed, they just evolved spontaneously over a couple of pubs!

This was also the first evening we'd included the morris dance as the sword fight in the middle of the play, rather than adding it at the end.  We stole the idea shamelessly off the New Scorpion Band, and it worked very well.  (For complexities due to English licencing laws, Public Entertainment Licences, Insurance and the fact that the powers that be forgot to exclude mumming when creating laws to deal with loud music in pubs, we have to include a morris dance as part of the performance - because they did remember - after much lobbying - to exclude morris from the act.)

watervole: (Poole Mummers)
 There's a short interview with myself and Alex Bebb about the mummers.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p001dpqb  You want the programme for the 19th.  I'm not sure how far through the show we are - they kindly sent me our part separately.

Rick is cheerfully hamming up Father Christmas and I'm Beelzebub.
watervole: (Poole Mummers)
Went to the theatre last night to see the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the New Scorpion Band do a Christmas show with a strong bias towards folk songs, etc.  Someone had had the bright idea of offering half-price tickets to local morris sides.  Three of Anonymous Morris were there and I saw people from several other local sides.

Part of the performance was a mumming play by the New Scorpion Band (St George vs Turkish Knight, St George gets killed twice).  Good fun and had at least one idea (doing the sword fight as a dance) that I may steal for next year.

After the play finished, the conductor announced that anyone wishing to see another mumming play could see Purbeck Mummers at their next performance.

You only get one guess as to which audience member promptly shouted out where Poole Mummers were next performing (which the conductor kindly repeated with his mike).

Friday, the Brewhouse, Poole 8pm.

Mumming

Dec. 17th, 2011 03:52 pm
watervole: (Poole Mummers)
 We went mumming last night.  Great fun.

Visited four pubs, three of which were fairly quiet early (for given values of early) in on a Friday evening, and one (the last at 9:30) which had a folk duo playing.

The first three had tiny audiences, but this was generally a good thing as it allowed the cast to gain confidence and get used to having an audience.

By the time we reached the Portsmouth Hoy, we were well into the spirit of it all and performed to great gusto. The audience cheered, booed and laughed in all the right places and it was great.

The ad libs were also starting to fly fast and free.

Doctor (Part of the script) - I can cure your wife of a headache, your husband of a bellyache.

Audience member - I'm not married.

Doctor - I charge extra for that!

St George, in a remarkably unsaintly manner was carefully stabbing both the dead bodies, that he'd slain in the swordfight, to ensure they were properly dead and tipping the devil (me) a penny to try and help me raise money to prevent the Doctor from raising them from the dead!

The great joy of performing in a space this small (you know how much space there is in the bar of an average pub) is that you're really close to the audience and able to get immediate feedback from them.

There's  a few photos from rehearsal here -  https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/106166224635586159957/albums/posts 

You can see St George (sword and spear/broom in hand), the Valiant Soldier (with twin light sabres, because we could and we wanted to!), and the Doctor with his black bag  and tatter jacket.  You can't see the Turkish Knight, Beelzebub and Santa, but we all wear similar tatter jackets with headgear appropriate for the role: devil's horns, Santa hat, turban.

The tatter jackets are quasi-historical which is convenient given that our normal morris kit is tatter jackets...

The young lad with the light sabres is Anonymous Morris's most recent recruit. He's only 12, but he's shaping up as a good dancer. 

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