When LADS (Ledbury Amateur Dramatic Society) began rehearsing Terms and Conditions Apply the title and plot were very different from the Show you’ll see at Ledbury Market Theatre next week, 31st July to 2nd August.
My original play was about a sixteen year old desperate to go to the school prom in a pink stretch limo, get off with a feller she really fancied and live happily ever after. Sadly, the girl was the subject of bullying by two ugly sisters who on the night of the prom forced her to stay at home and watch repeats of Don’t Tell the Bride.
Armed with this exciting format, Director Bob thought the ugly sisters should be played by men, and chose this actor (seen at his first rehearsal) to play the one I’d called ‘Drizella’.
At first the casting seemed perfect. The man would stand uncomfortably close, emitting a light spray through botoxed lips and staring at you fixedly through the pebble lenses of his oversize, horn-rimmed spectacles. It was hard to feel at ease in his presence and no surprise to find he’d once been cast as the child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
But whilst his looks were ideal for the part there were problems with his personality. From the start he set about manipulating the play in little ways, throwing ideas around like actors do; a change of word, a change of emphasis, perhaps a tweak to the set. But lurking behind those pebbly eyes was a mind so dogmatic and forceful that he soon began pushing for greater change; getting rehearsals rearranged, forcing costume changes and demanding that whole scenes were scrapped, insisting he knew best.
Although resentment was building, Bob went along with his ideas because his frightful face was so perfect – even without specs.
It got worse. Before long the actor had changed the plot, altered the setting, renamed all the characters (taking Govis as his own) and changed the title to what it is now – Terms and Conditions Apply. We didn’t know where we stood from one rehearsal to the next, and the play seemed more of a political satire than a love story. With the Show due in a few weeks, our fate was set.
But as is right, it was the Director who decided on the final change. He had ‘Govis’ fired in an early scene by a character of his own creation, Dave Camshaft. Relegated to a minor role, his influence was removed with one firm blow, and we’d now see very little of him. What a relief!
And my writing was not entirely wasted. You see, in revising the script ‘Govis’ had given a character called Nick Clogg a similar role to the one I’d written for the sixteen year old girl, and even found a use in Clogg’s dialogue for the word I’d dreamt up for my original play title – Cinderella.
Back soon, friends.
Watch out for the final Eddie’s Eye!
Terms and Conditions Apply – a play by Paul Costello. Fabulous political satire about a 5-year coalition government, seen through the eyes of ordinary, suburban households and, in stark contrast, the rose-tinted spectacles of politicians. Director, Bob Maynard. Thurs 31st July – Sat 2nd August @ 8pm. Ledbury Market Theatre
Tickets £10 adults £5 students
On line: www.themarkettheatre.com
Or: Masters House, Ledbury (Mon/Tues 9.30 to 4. Fri 9.30 to 2) 01432 260500
Or: 07967 517125