Friday, 28 August 2015

I Belong To A Troupe

Just after Easter, 2013, Jay Walker, Deadbeat Poet and I were driving from Church Stretton to the world famous Wenlock Poetry Festival when Jay announced she'd booked a free venue for the Edinburgh Fringe but didn't yet have an act.

"I'll come," I said.  I didn't have an act either.  "Deadbeat," I asked"why don't you join us?"  I'd heard his amazing poem about dinosaurs.  "Okay, mum," he said.  That's how I became Someone's Mum.  By the end of the day, we were Threesome.  It seemed a hilarious choice of name, to us in the not know.

Three months later, Deadbeat (showing the wisdom of the very young) had left us for fresh pastures, and we'd been joined by Ms Beeton.  Ms B had a baking act - this was a novelty to add to two sets of dramatised poetry.  We met for the first time the day before our show opened in a long-suffering cafe and rehearsed madly all that afternoon.

By the end of those first four shows, we'd become a troupe.  I'm not sure exactly when that happened - maybe it was the moment Ms B was down to her smalls whisking cake batter when an intoxicated man lurched in off Leith Walk hoping to get a closer look, which he got, along with a marvellous Beetonesque ticking off.  Perhaps it was the first time Jay recited her poems to all us the way through, and we heard the strength of her voice and the depth of her experience.  Perhaps it was when I introduced Roy, the floppy lion with a heart of gentle resignation, to play the role of my son in my act, The Seven Rages of Woman.

Being part of a troupe has meant warmth, laughter, multiple microwaved chocolate sponge cakes and growing understanding and friendship.  It has meant shrieking together with joy and surprise when getting 2 x four star (out of five) reviews.  It has meant rushing out to buy last minute butter or cocoa, making up lines, having our minds expanded, trusting each other to show up each time.

Over the past two years, Threesome has appeared twice in Coventry, at the Fifth International Dietetics Conference in Manchester and twice in Shrewsbury - a total of 13 lucky shows, the last five of which benefited hugely from the input of our director, Carol Caffrey, and her suggestion of the title Sweet Thunder.  For me it's been the experience of a lifetime, and I am deeply grateful to Jay and Ms B for every last morsel of it.

We went back to Edinburgh for another four night run last week. We didn't know it'd be our last.  In fact, we've had two enquiries for further bookings. We didn't know on our opening night, when we added to the range of our experiences the joy of performing to twenty teenagers who got everything we have been trying to do straight off, that we were counting down to our finale.  But that decision has been reached like all the others - spontaneously, with love, laughs, cake mix, and hope for our solo careers.

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