Thursday, 11 July 2013

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again

I am a man of many talents. Occasionally, I can utilise these to such an extent that they surprise people, and I come off looking very good indeed, achieving the very best I can.

I am available for work.

Anyway, many years ago when I acted as a hobby, I was a member of the Royal & Derngate Youth Theatre group. We weren't putting on a show at that particular time, having just completed our production of Vikings and Darwin. Instead, we were helping out the with Alan Ayckbourn season that the theatre was then putting on. As part of the festivities, three young writers had written plays in the style of Ayckbourn, and we were to do a reading of them in the Underground studio of the theatre.

Those who know me will not be hugely surprised to learn, but I was given the part of a character with a stammer. Not that I have a stammer in real life you understand, but I do have an unfortunate lisp that means I struggle with the 'L' sound when speaking. Not the 'L' word, though that may explain my current, crippling loneliness.

It was the only part in the show I had, so while the two other plays were being read I simply sat and listened.  I only have the word of the Friend, the same who always seems to always appear in this blog, that this next bit happened. When it came to our reading, we sat down in our rows and began to read our scenes. I start reading, and affecting the stammer. Initially, someone yelped a laugh, believing that I was affecting a comedy stammer.

However, as I was lost in the part at this point I did not notice and continued, doing the stuttering and control breaths I had seen other stammers use to control the speech. The woman who had laughed quickly fell into a shamed silence until the reading was over.

Once the whole thing was over, the lights came on and we started to pack away the chairs. The audience did not seem sure it was over, so I joked, in my normal speaking voice that the show was over and they were free to go. This got a bit of a laugh, except from the woman who had earlier laughed at my stammer. She looked utterly horrified that she had been fooled twice.

I took more pride in that than being later informed that Ayckbourn was also in the audience of that particular reading.

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