Limelight 3

[notice]This post original appeared on the 9th September 2005 on my very first blog (that site now has another purpose) The article is now hosted on my “Other” blog From The Keyboard Of  Paul[/notice]

There are times in every young man’s life when he falls head over arse for a woman so out of his league it hurts. Usually it’s for a pop star or a movie star… (I saved those for much later in life).

On week two of my work experience, the Stage Manager realized that there was very little for me to do with the crew of the theatre for the following week and he wondered if i would like to see what it was like to work with a touring company for a week. I wasn’t exactly sure what he meant properly…I thought he was going to farm me out as a slave to Opera North.

What he was actually proposing (and had arranged and was only asking me out of courtesy) was for me to align myself with the company coming in for the next week. I would work with the head of costume and wife of the director. (I am ashamed to say that I don’t remember the names of the lovely people with the exception of the woman involved in the main part of this story) I will call her Pat, because it has a friendly ring to it.

This what could have been called a b-list headline show. It was a comedic murder mystery. I actually really liked watching the show most nights from the wings, but the local critics weren’t to hot on it.. I blame the “star” of the show… a used-to-be funny man from TV. He wasn’t that funny and to be honest he wasn’t that great an actor either. The other name in the show was a young lady from an Australian soap opera who was so bashful she insisted on having a dressing room built on stage so she could change during a scene in the wings. And before anyone thinks that she was right to do so.. she was wearing a long slip to her knees and all she was changing was a shirt. Now still you could be right in thinking that this was still OK.. BUT she was an actress from NEIGHBOURS and she was almost always in a Bikini or a low cut top with tight shorts on. Looking back on the situation now, I find it hard to understand (maybe it’s the man in me) why she had to have her own dressing room.

Anyway I digress from my real tale. My whole job description was to do what ever was needed for the cast and crew during the week. If they needed something picking up from the costume dept I would be asked to get it. If it was lunch time and they felt like a burger or a pizza.. I would go get it. During Get In for the play I met a short haired woman who looked like she had just been on the worlds worst train journey, was wrestling with a coffee machine. It had eaten her money and she had no more change. So being the little gentleman that I was I bought her a cup of coffee. It was no big deal too me.. 20p for a cup of grotty coffee was nothing, but I was repaid many times over during the next week.

Her name was Bryan, she was a supporting actress in the play and she was only on stage for a maximum of 20 minutes in the two hours the play ran. During the run of the tour she had spent the extra time just chilling out and trying to find more work for after this show had come to it’s conclusion. But this week she would stop her job hunt and take me under her wing.

There was nothing to do during the show so I was invited up to her shared dressing room to chat (Get your minds out of the gutter you perverts). We spent each night talking about different things.. what I wanted to do after school, did I like the theatre, what other shows had she done (she did the Rocky Horror Show.. I was even more in love with her after I found that out). There was a new topic every night and in the days when she needed a guide around Nottingham I was the first to be asked.

I was smitten… no I was in love. Bryan was my first real big crush on someone out of my league. I should probably mention… Bryan was well over 30 but well under 40 at the time and I was just barely 16.. there was never the remotest possibility of anything happening… I knew that, but my mind had it’s own mind and it wanted to spend the rest of it’s life with her.

The week flew by, I was in 7th heaven but all good things must come to an end. I had to find a way to make her remember me… so I bought her a BAD Bob Dylan tape. LOL How young I was. Bryan, of course, showed no offence at being bought the BAD BADDDD tape. She was thrilled… she claimed she didn’t have it. I am sure it was relegated to the glove compartment of her car where Terry Pratchett once said “… all tapes left in the glove box for more than 14 days will invariably turn into Queen’s Greatest Hits”

Hope she enjoyed Fat Bottomed Girls at some point.

On the Saturday I was called to a large dressing room where the whole cast and crew were, and presented with a card of thanks and an envelope full of money. They had had a collection for me after finding out that I was not being paid for my work experience. If I remember rightly there was around about £50 in that envelope and that was the biggest surprise of the whole three weeks, that these people actually appreciated what little I had done enough to take time out of their day to come and see me and spend some time. The money was nice

After the show that night we pulled the set down and then I went to the bar to say goodbye to Bryan and the rest of the cast. Bryan looked tired and ready to leave for the last train back to London that night, but she hung around and waited to say goodbye to me. She gave me her phone number and a kiss on the cheek… I nearly missed my bus that night, I don’t float as well as I walk.

I only used the phone number once… but she had moved (or given me a duff number). I have never forgotten my first crush on some out of my league and probably never will.

Until Next Time…