Sunday, March 02, 2008

Wednesday 30th March 1938

Not a very good day for business until I found Mr Saunders, of E.G. King and Son at the Creeksea mud berths, working on board a motor yacht. Didn’t expect any travellers to find him there. “Good God!” he said as I wriggled into the small wheelhouse. “No” I replied, “It’s only me”. So I took an order for 56 lbs. Of U/coat paste!

The most important thing today of course, was the production of “Fantastic Flight”. How I’ve dreaded it, for months! Yet the actual experience was not fearfully nerve-racking. I did not suffer from stage fright at all, really. As is usual with me, the sight of other people showing fear made me feel calmer than ever. Lucky! Griffiths was the first (playing Pither). Whilst we were in the make-up room, with about 20 minutes to spare, he kept saying, “Are the lights up? I think the other play is over!” Then I found Pat (Hope Tregoring) with the Editor and the Reporter, having a last minute run through her lines. Quite feverish. As the fateful moment approached I sat in the gymnasium with Pither and Kelly (Heatherfield). All the others seem to have disappeared. Pither paced up and down, saying his mouth felt dry. Heatherfield, really ultra-calm sat on a table looking scornful.

Then suddenly I found myself sitting on the stage with Hope Tregoring. The curtain was down and beyond that was the Audience. People dashed to and fro, arranging things, then they had gone and Hope Tregoring and I sat there alone in the dark, curtain still down. Silence. Then the clear voice of the Reporter from his separate platform:- “Gutterpress Five-Oh double-Oh. Yep.” The play was on!

My fingers reached out in the dark and found those of Pat and twined around them and twisted them this way and that. Just as we always do! I felt the response in her frightened little fingers. It was lovely… The curtains rolled back; the lights glared at us. I was on my feet, coffee cup raised in a toast – “We will not fight for king or country, property or power, patriotism or pride…” My voice sounded strong, I knew I’d not forget the words, the audience was silent, Hope was alright, I was happy. We were all Ok. No awful blunders. Stella was wonderful, considering the short time she’s had to rehearse. It was quite a thrill on the whole!

The Retallacks were half-way down the hall and afterwards said it was a jolly good show.


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