We had a cast of fifteen living as much as two hours away from the venue and many were snowed in. However, the weather forecast was for a thaw around lunchtime, so we held our nerve and waited. Posts were put up on Facebook and messages placed on the home page of our website saying a decision would be made before 3pm as to proceed or postpone. All ticket holders were individually emailed keeping them up to date with the situation.
By 1pm the thaw had set in and after a call to the cast members everyone felt they could make it to the venue, so at 2.30 we decided to go ahead — the show must go on.
It meant the time allowed for lighting and sound preparations was condensed, but everything was in place as the first guest arrived. It was heart-warming to see around 100 people turn up despite the earlier atrocious conditions.
The cast of fifteen performed in front of the altar in the warm glow of our own stage lights and brought Dylan Thomas’s poetic masterpiece to life. The performance was a big hit and during the food and wine gathering afterwards there were so many kind and appreciative comments.
One of the reasons for staging the performance in the church at Sainte-Dode was because our Theatre Company is registered as an Association in Sainte-Dode and medieval frescoes had recently been uncovered during a routine restoration project. The significance and importance of the wall paintings dating from around 1450 has meant the commune now needs to complete a much bigger renovation project than originally planned and we felt The English Theatre Company might be able raise some funds to help.
After the performance in the adjacent hall we were able to announce that a retiring collection meant we were able to give €500 to the mayor of Sainte-Dode to swell the restoration fund.
So it is hats off to all the people who attended — especially the four ladies who drove more than two hours from Mézin. Well done too, to the cast and all the various helpers. Between us we managed to provide a cultural event, a social gathering and a worthwhile fund-raiser all in one evening.