12 June 2012

Cape Gilbert and Sullivan Society Rehearsal of Yeomen of the Guard. My impression.

Hot medicated lemon drinks, cough syrup and throat lozenges in front of the heater wrapped in a warm blanket. Yep, winter flu has arrived for poor old Geoff. It doesn't bother me that I have flu, what does bother me is that the Cape Town Gilbert and Sullivan Societies production of Yeomen of the Guard opens in four days time and unless I stop coughing and sneezing by then I'll miss the whole thing. There is now way I'm going to sit for three hours in a packed auditorium coughing and sneezing and generally annoying the audience and cast of this fine production.
Now, I must tell you, that a stage production like this is just up my alley. I absolutely love live opera, live music of any  kind appeals to me, but opera and choral music I really love. You see, I used to sing in the Durban boys choir until I was about 15, I also learned to play the piano and appreciate classical music. When I moved to Cape Town twenty odd years ago, my little sister sang with the Cape Town Philharmonic Choir, accompanied by the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra. I would attend their choir practices and in the process learned to really appreciate classical music performed with a live orchestra and choir. I've always loved theatrical productions and of course dancing. My parents were South African Ballroom Dance Champions in their day. I too took up ballroom dancing, a long, long, long time ago. I can't imagine trying to do the Rumba now.
Anyway, back to Yeomen of the Guard. I think it was last Tuesday, James got hold of me and told me he had arranged for me to attend their on stage dress rehearsal on Saturday afternoon, to take photographs. This was of course done with the kind permission of the stage director Teddy Davies and the members of the society. I didn't realize just how privileged I was to be allowed to attend and asked another blogging friend if she would like to accompany me. I was thinking of writing a collaborative blog post with her, I would take photographs and she could watch the performance and then we could combine the mutual experience in a nice long blog post for the rest of the world to see. I gave James a ring and asked if he could get permission for her too. Well it never happened, which is sad to say the least, we were both disappointed.Saturday rolled around and I was off to the Arts Cape Theater with my friend Andy's camera, A Canon 5D, what an amazing camera. I had with me a 100 to 400mm professional zoom lens which we put onto James's 550D camera and set the time to 1/125 of a second. This took care of my shaking and froze the action on stage. The set had only just been completed and was not yet lit so the pictures were not of the finest quality, lighting wise that is, but I did get a few really good pictures. I can't show them here yet because the production has not yet been staged, no sneak previews I'm afraid. I'll do that in a later post.
Anyway, on Saturday they had two rehearsals with a two hour break between them. This meant that I left home at about 11.30 and only got home at 11 pm. A long day to be sitting in one place feeling the flu coming on.
The first rehearsal started with a costume check and then into the rehearsal itself. I must admit that I missed most of the performance because I was concentrating on taking pictures, I could hear the singing, but as I said I was focused elsewhere. I found myself trying to stay more or less in one or two positions in the auditorium so as not to be too much of a distraction. There were times when I noticed cast members being distracted by the camera, but not in such a way as to detract from their overall performance. Thank you Lord for inventing digital cameras. I took stacks and stacks of pictures, not all of them great, but I'm sure I will be able to get a few great shots from them. James has been tasked with making the photo boards that they will display in the foyer at the staging of the opera, my pictures on public display. So cool, don't you think?
During the break we had some dinner while James downloaded the pictures to his laptop and then just sat around while they took a much needed rest. The second rehearsal was not a dress rehearsal so this gave everyone a chance to change into warmer clothes, which they did, it's winter here.
With the second rehearsal I put away the cameras, closed the bags and sat back to watch the performance. Man was I impressed! How these people remember their lines and moves is beyond me. The vocals were excellent and the story has such a completeness about it, all enacted by every cast member to perfection. I found myself lost on occasion because of the lack of costumes, but I enjoyed their performance immensely. I wish I had a video camera so I could run the whole performance for you here, I was that impressed. It was fantastic and I can understand why their productions are completely sold out. Well done cast and crew for this particular production of Yeomen of the Guard, you deserve a standing ovation.
One further note, the Cape Argus Newspaper ran an article on Sunday entitled "Royal Stamp of Approval" about this particular production. James is featured prominently in their photograph of course and I'll try to post a link to the actual article. It makes interesting and informative reading.
Cape Argus Article Try this link, I've probably made a mess of it but it's worth trying.
Bless you and thanks for taking the time to read this very long post, Geoff.
P.S. I may still ask my blogging friend to attend, depending on ticked availability, and to get together with me on the net to write a blog post, I'll let you know in due course.


  1. oh I hope you are better by now and can go!! You can just sit in the back if you're still coughing...

  2. Get well soon Geoff. Wanted to let you know that I nominated your blog for the Inspiring Blog Award! Might make you feel a bit better :) Check it out on my blog: http://jemimapett.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/the-inspiring-blog-award/

    PS Victor sends his love

  3. Is that James in the red? Hope you are feeling much better.