Saturday, 30 March 2013

the book of kingdoms

Photo: Rod Bryans / Adam Stones as King Charles II at St. Helier Town Hall

"You couldn’t book your theatre ticket in advance back then. The theatres opened at noon, you paid for your ticket on arrival, and then waited for three hours until the performance started at 3 or 3.30pm. It cost 2s and 6d for a seat on a bench in the stalls or 4s to sit in the box. There were anywhere between 700 and 1,000 people in the audience.

'Before the comedy begins, [so] that the audience may not be tired with waiting, the most delightful symphonies [were] played: on which account many people [came] early to enjoy this agreeable music.'

Those theatre-goers unwilling or unable to waste such time – like lawyers or diarists or members of Parliament even – ‘paid a poor man to get a good place in the pit’ at noon. He would then go off to do his business and then get back just before three o’clock when the house - the theatre - was full.

There was rarely a respectful hush during a performance: people ate and drank and chatted throughout. They would even throw their half eaten oranges if the performance failed to please.

Let’s try it now!

What? Throw oranges?

No! Let’s do a play.

I thought that was what we were doing?

It’s called a play-within-a-play.

But this is a play!

This isn’t a play! It’s theatre.

This sounds exciting.

Let’s do it!

We have to: it’s what comes next.

It’s what has to come next.

Ready everyone!

What shall it be about?

The law.

And law makers.

'The one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom.'

Book number twenty-four: To Kill a Mockingbird."

Jersey Arts Centre
theatre-in-education tour
14 February - 30 March 2013

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