First, the rowing. We had the race last Thursday, a 2.8(ish)km time trial called ‘Fairburns’, and it went pretty well all things considered. We finished 19th from 72 boats, which is hardly bad, and I for one felt satisfied that we’d done ourselves justice. A top 15 spot would have been nice, but we kept our technique together pretty well until the end, despite severe pain. Most of us felt it particularly in the forearms, and by the final stretch we could barely feather the blade at all. (Feathering is the technical term for twisting the paddle part of the blade parallel to the water, and blade is the fancy name for an oar. Rowing is full of obscure technical jargon, and some time I may even tell you about ‘catching a crab’ and how it can lead to the ‘ejector seat’.)

That was Thursday morning, and next on the agenda was a rehearsal for ‘The Sorcerer’ at 5 o’clock. As was the problem with so many rehearsals for this show, attendance was not good, and this time I was the only person to show up. Far from ideal, and it left us all still very unsure of our dialogue before the day of performance.

Next was a rehearsal at 9.30 Friday morning. Known as a ‘sitzprobe’, it was meant to be a sing through of the entire show with the orchestra, but by 10 o’clock we had about four musicians and I was one of only two cast. I could continue to tell you about the disastrous dress rehearsal and the immense dread before the first performance, but I doubt you would find this at all edifying. I’ll cut to the chase, and tell you that by some incredible luck, possibly even divine intervention, everything came together at the last minute. My mother and sister came to see it on the Friday and both wondered what I’d been complaining about, having enjoyed it immensely. (My brother succumbed to the alternative attraction of a friend’s 18th birthday party, and my Dad couldn’t make it as he is in Australia at the moment, but that’s a story for another post.)

We were only doing two evenings and a matinee, so it was all over by Saturday evening. It was great experience to be singing the lead in an operetta, and I managed to hit my high notes, get (almost) all my lines in the correct place, and thoroughly enjoy myself in the process. The after show party began with vast amounts of wine courtesy of the G&S society in a small room in Clare College, then moved on to the ADC Theatre bar where we joined the revellers from the ADC/Footlights pantomime. I vaguely remember having a very good time, and finally left at around 6am. This got me into bed at about 7 o’clock, leaving me four hours in bed before I had to get up…

Rehearsals for ‘Me and My Girl’ started at midday on the Sunday, so I dragged my hangover up to Homerton College bright and early. As sobriety pushed inebriation aside, I must confess my condition was somewhat less than optimal. Fortunately I was not the only member of the cast who had been at the party the night before, and we were able to exchange self-pitying groans and grunts of commiseration. Since then, pretty much all my time has been devoted to further rehearsals, along with liberal quantities of sleeping. Work has not had much of a look in.

Today, my schedule had rehearsals from one o’clock through till six, after which we all went for a meal and bowling. Cast bonding is an important process, and is normally aided by alcohol. Tonight we had the added bonus of a little friendly rivalry between the bowling teams. Debating how to divide ourselves up, someone suggested ‘oldies’ and ‘young ones’, and it turned out I was the oldest person there. Insult was added to injury when someone put my name into the computer as ‘Grumbledore’. Humph. I seem to be developing a reputation. Needless to say we showed those pesky kids a thing or two about bowling.