Thursday, 19 August 2010

News from the Extreme Weather Front

I'm writing this in my 10th floor room, window open on a tropical storm: the forkiest and most frequent lightning, the crashingest thunder I've ever experienced. The skyscraper half-built across the way obscure in a blinding puther of rain, the drops large as marbles, the whole sky roaring and the pitiful mewling far below of a hundred car alarms.Last time I experienced anything like this was, er, yesterday: on site, Expo; my team preparing to become angels, yes, angels, when our producers announced that the area was being closed due to the storm's force, and that the "Swank" performers - who had been cavorting before the public - might give up and go home. We old timers are made of sterner stuff, of course. Some minutes later 3 of the "Fine Artistes" appeared in the extremity of lightning, rain and thunder wearing black lycra leotards and daps (slip-on plimsolls, non-westcountrypersons) with, on our heads, union-jack mini-umbrella hats. We cha cha cha'd our elegant and graceful way through the downpour humming "Tea for Two" to the absolute incredulity of an audience of hundreds of sheltering Chinese, returning shortly afterwards to a sort-of-tango rhythm humming "Let's Face the Music and Dance". Flab in Lycra: inherently artistic, wouldn't you say? There's something joyous about being elderly and flagrant: Neil is 71, and looks like the Ancient Mariner, I'm 63 and really at least 2 stones overweight. Even Haf, our 3rd - and only female on this occasion - member is approaching 50 and complaining about middle-age-spread. Theatre can be so liberating....Ric Jerrom

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