‘The quality of mercy’ – is very strained.

Acting class – 1 -Artichokes and forgiveness. I sit next to a super looking guy who says he earns his living doing standup comedy! Where did I go wrong? I did standup all last year and was lucky to get a free drink?

Today there are attractive women in flowing baggy pants, young mothers, women who have rushed from responsible jobs in offices, a young dad…. I pray the warm up isn’t the one where you throw a ball at people and try to remember their name!  Why can’t People just sit around and say ‘Hi’ to everyone.

Luckily this what we do.  Except we are supposed to add something we enjoy doing. Suddenly find myself saying I am keen on growing globe artichokes…well I am…think I see one or two sympathetic ‘poor old soul looks!’ Next take turns to stand in front of everyone, look each person in the eye and accept group applause.  Have you ever noticed that a minute can seem a lifetime?

This is followed by telling the person next to us any story that comes to mind about ‘forgiveness’. I can only think of my mum being fairly neglectful when I was young. The minute the words spill out of my mouth I regret them.  I know in my heart she had her reasons and later in life we became great mates! I’m no good at ‘spontaneous’.

So now I grow artichokes and have misunderstood my mum. Others tell tales of backpacking to ‘The Big Apple’  and Lama’s. What’s was the matter with Blackpool?

Acting class – 2 –  A leap in the dark  – We are to use part of the body to tell it’s own story. Some of the class are very inventive with tales from a shoulder,  an eye and even a lung. What else is there?

As it moves to my turn my feet are intent on doing ‘a runner’. Thank you feet! Give them a grateful look, wiggle my toes and mumble something about how much my feet  like flip flops and enjoy pebbles. Apparently this was not right. Not the obvious lie about pebbles, but the tense, so I have to do it all again in the first person or ‘first foot’ as it were. Whole body feels soggy!

Topic changes to  ‘a leap in dark’. With no time to think or rehearse. we tell our neighbour a story about ourselves. I find myself waxing lyrical about the colour of a damp patch on the kitchen ceiling and how it heralded a leap into the unknown and the end of my marriage.

A sort of metaphor for despair all very dismal. A new topic now, claustrophobia. One of the lovely women in baggy pants tells me about her husband panicking when the lights failed in the shower! We tell our ‘partners’ story to the group which is not as scary as one might think. Next week we need  a new anecdote.

I vaguely remember sailing a yacht under a bridge on the Seine because neither of the two half – hearted actors who were supposed to have sailing experience would take the helm! Think on Ann…

Acting class – 3 – The end is nigh – I’ve lost interest in ‘forgiveness and artichokes’ from week one, but have to tell a tale, so and ramble on about a visit to India. Suddenly get a good idea for next week but now I am advised to stick to artichokes or India…

I can see my one woman show is not going to happen! Does my Equity card count for nothing? No it doesn’t! Admittedly I did not actually mention it, mainly because I’ve been  ‘resting’  for 47 years!

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