Bill P. Godfrey et al

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Bill's school days - "Technical Hitch"

Every Christmas, my primary school (for ages 5-11) would put on a play. The younger children would do the nativity (the biblical version of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth) and the older children would perform a traditional children's story.

For all that time I attended that school, I only remember being involved in a play four times. It was a small school, so there would have been enough for everyone to take even a small part every year. Somehow, the other three occasions were so traumatic I've suppressed the memory.

First time, I was a shepherd. I was the responsible one who stayed behind to look after the sheep while the other two went galavanting off to go see the baby Jesus.

Next up was possibly my finest role. A policeman in a funny version of Jack and the Beanstalk. I only had three lines, of which I can remember two.
Policeman: (Forgotten)
Jack: (Forgotten)
Policeman: "I hear you've gone round stealing words."
Jack: (Forgotten)
Policeman: "Yes yes, tell it to the birds."

For my last two years, they were so clearly impressed with my acting that I was given support roles -- lighting for Sleeping Beauty and backing music for Snow White. My adventures in lighting were uneventful.

Music for Snow White was in the form of a cassette tape with some recorded music and the cassette player was wired up to some amplified speakers. For some reason, the taped music wasn't in order, but the tape player had a counter and the teacher had prepared a list of songs with the corresponding tape positions. All I had to do was position the tape between songs and press play on cue. What could go wrong?

In preparation, I was told to position the tape ready for the first song. Right on cue, the music played perfectly for the first song. Second song, silence. (Dum dum daaaah!)

The teacher who organised the show checked in with me in my little cubby hole behind the stage to see what was wrong and then sheepishly announced to the audience that there was a "technical hitch". The audience giggled as I hastily sorted it out.

The problem was that between the preparation and the performance, the younger children's nativity play also made use of the tape player. By the time I got back, the tape counter was out of position. The first song was fine as all I had to do was press play, but for the second song, I had to position the tape according to an incorrect counter.

By the time she had returned from her announcement, I was well on the way to fixing the problem. This was the first glimmer of my inner engineer.


  • I was often given good roles in the school plays [ plural - not just Christmas and easter, we had performances at least every other week done by one class or another ] and I loved it.

    If I hadn't been traumatised by secondary school and their lack of performance based assemblies then I could well be a famous actor now...

    I think I'd like that.

    [and Bill, I think you have excellent timing and delivery skills; school classes have the problem that a play usually has 3 key roles and 30 children... it's hard to balance everything and give everyone something meaningful... but yes, shades of your engineering future; and the lack of communication between departments :-) that is the bane of working life ]

    By Blogger M., At 12:05 PM, October 16, 2006  

  • Stealing words? Is that a serious crime?

    By Anonymous K, At 12:17 PM, October 16, 2006  

  • It is a very serious

    By Blogger Bill P. Godfrey, At 4:23 PM, October 16, 2006  

  • I got to be inkeeper, carol singer and then I was upgraded to Mary! I was just a big suck-up lol. Nice blog you got here Bill, makin' me smile :) (the comments are pretty funny too!) Tia x

    By Blogger samsarajade, At 10:20 PM, October 17, 2006  

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