Travelling the through Canadian Rockies I received an email asking if I was available to Stage manage Echoes. Firstly – check football commitments – all Clear. Secondly – check with Maggie Morrison no clash with LOTS commitments – again all clear. So I said yes. Besides, saying no would make 2018 the first year since 2002 I had not been involved in a Beaumaris show, either on stage or back stage and I would have hated to break a 16 year streak!
Usually I like to become involved from the very first read through. This time I came in with less than three weeks until opening night - not a long time when working with a director and some cast I had never met before and an unknown play. But I’m still very glad I said yes.
Set in England, Echoes moves between WW1 and the 1990’s as the elderly Rose recalls her life as a young WW1 ambulance driver, her flying ace brother James and her love affair with Edward, a young RAF pilot. There were many teary eyes in the audience as the play reaches its final scene when Rose dies and goes to be reunited with James and Edward.
The flashbacks necessitated many lighting changes, created to perfection, which were essential to the context of the scenes accompanied by appropriate music of the era. The stage was dominated by a large tree outside a nursing home which was once the hotel where Rose was courted by her Edward.
I believe the secret of a good show is casting the right people in the right roles and director Barbara Crawford got it spot on.
The professionalism of the cast was impressive. They created the perfect balance of emotion without going over the top. Judy Corderoy who as Rose spent the entire show on stage, was simply outstanding - a role model for all aspiring actors. Julia Day, who played Irish nurse Bridget, was so convincing in her role I had to ask her if she had been born in Ireland (she wasn’t).
Kim Anderson in her costume totally looked and played the part as Matron to a tee (I think she may have been a Matron in a previous life). I have had the pleasure of working with Stephen White, Emily Holding, Alex Ashcroft and Stuart Anderson on previous shows and was delighted to do so once more. Stephen’s extensive experience shone through as he switched between the doctor and the father. Emily as Young Rose, Stuart as Edward and Alex as Peter and James all brought their characters to life and I am impressed with how they are continuing to develop and grow as actors.
The backstage and tech crew combined to form a very solid team. The smooth running of the show would not have been possible without the ever-reliable Fiona Williams as she kept control of the many small props and knew exactly when and where to position Rose for the next scene.
Big thanks to everyone involved with the show with special mentions to Fred Pezzimenti for his set and lighting design, Samantha Davies for costumes, Petar Jovicic as lighting operator, Andrew Alexander for sound operation not forgetting director Barbara Crawford for her passion and her vision to present this poignant and heartwarming play to the Beaumaris stage. And a big thanks to everyone who came to see this production and support community theatre.
Steve Morris - Stage Manager