Last time unto the breach, dear friends
July 31, 2013
Our journey from Portsmouth to Stratford via Agincourt has ended – with a flourish.
Fresh from a successful run alongside (and onboard) Nelson's flagship, we took the show to The Dell – packing the set and props (see the first photo), not to mention cast and crew, into a coach was an interesting challenge for which expertise at Tetris came in handy.
Met at the Courtyard by Nicola, we quickly unloaded, and tucked into the very welcome sandwiches she had arranged, before we moved all the bits and pieces to the stage for the get-in.
Luckily the weather held, and we were able to do a quick walk-through of the most challenging section of the play before the opening by Chorus – the Director (and many of those involved) had been anxious that the space available for the 'big fight' was different from that back in Portsmouth, with split stage levels and less room, but the walk-through gave the necessary assurance that 'It'll be alright on the night' – or rather 'the afternoon'.
With the continuing sunshine, a good-sized crowd had gathered. Lucy, the youngest member of our cast present, opened the show, which ran smoothly before an appreciative audience. Their subsequent comments ranged from 'I liked the princess bits' (a very young admirer!) through 'Well done the King' to 'Thoroughly enjoyed the show – particularly the fighting.'
Final bows after a rousing rendition of Hearts of Oak, the crowd dispersing (via a collection for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, for which we received more than £600 over the performances in Hampshire and Stratford), a final cast photo, and all that remained was to pack everything, get it back in the coach, and set off for home – the minor inconvenience of unloading in pouring rain didn't dampen our enthusiasm.
Finally, in true Oscars tradition, thanks to all who made this possible – cast, crew, Royal Shakespeare Company team, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, and audiences various; we hope to try our hands at another of the Bard's works next year – see you soon!
by Tim Stoneman
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