Wednesday, 26 June 2013


So, I began my last blog entry with the phrase “The dreaded has happened”…  How wrong could I possibly be?! In my innocent, able-bodied state I thought that forgetting a line was the worst thing that could conceivably happen. In the words of Dr Evil, “How about nooooooooooo ya crazy Dutch bastard!”

To cut to the quick, I have sprained my foot. Not my ankle, nor my heel but my whole ENTIRE foot. I don’t do things by halves do I?! Well, actually, technically I did as I only sprained one foot. 50% of the feet that I possess.

If I were to draw a pie chart representing my feet and then have it printed onto a plain white cotton T-shirt, sported by a headless model and then uploaded onto the internet it would look like this:

Fortunately, I don’t have that much time on my hands. Or feet.

So here’s the story morning glory… It was Bella’s birthday (Bella is another actress in the company and my dressing room budday to boot) and we had all decided to go for a swim in the lake in the afternoon to celebrate. You know, to be all primitive and at one with nature etc. Light some fires, kill some sheep, you know the deal.*

Nearly everyone had gone into the lake and so Old Muggins over here thought it would be a good idea to run in after them. Yes, RUN. Run into a murky lake where you can’t see the flooring. And with no spirit level to hand to measure the gradient.  Ho ho! What a fool I was!

Some might call it ‘showing off’; others might call it ‘bravery’. I choose ‘showing off bravely’. Either way, I ended up on my ass with a sprained foot. 

My nemesis: a mossy rock. It came out of nowhere. I wish I could say ‘Yeah, I sprained my foot but you should see the other guy!’ But I can’t, because the ‘other guy’ is a stealthy, moss covered rock adept in skulking below the surface and immune to my threatening demeanour. Harrumph.

It was then a natural progression to A and E, (HAPPY BIRTHDAY BELLA!) to be kitted out with a wheel chair upon arrival and crutches on departure. Like the worst kind of airport imaginable. 

Needless to say, Bella was sympathetically wetting herself laughing throughout the entire ordeal. What was so funny about pushing me in a wheel chair, downhill, through swinging doors whilst re-enacting an episode of Casualty, I will never know…  Smirk.

The nurse who had the pleasure of dealing with me was a complete mixture of Dr Cox from Scrubs and a stoic goat. Whilst handing me the crutches, which he was intrinsically reluctant to give me in the first place, he said without blinking, ‘Don’t fall over on these or they’ll snap your arms’. 

No words of comfort, no gentle shoulder rub, just a point blank promise of shattered limbs.

Of course, I had to let the theatre know as I couldn’t walk without assistance, let alone act (which apparently involves walking AND talking at the same time… who’d have thunk it!) and within the blink of an eye this sign had appeared in the foyer:

Needless to say, it made my life. My favourite thing about it is the ambiguity. I may use the crutch ‘for part OR all of this evening’s performance’. Just to keep the audience on their toes! A bit like ‘Where’s Wally’ but with my walking aid.

To be honest, I’m surprised no one’s graffitied over it yet and changed the ‘u’ to an ‘o’. If the youth of Keswick don’t step up to the plate soon, I’m going to have to do it. And that will only end in tears and or the possible termination of my contract.

However, the highlight of this entire ordeal is that I have been used in a lesson. Yes, not only have I learnt my own lesson about lakes, rocks and the consequences thereof but my story has been used to inspire the youth of today.

My university side-kick Liz is currently working as an English teacher, moulding the minds of Dudley’s 14 year olds and studying the play ‘An Inspector Calls’. Coincidence? I think not. 

On the morning after the dreaded happened I woke up to this:

Yes, Liz had set me and my swollen, gammy foot as an essay question. ‘Why might Sheila be on crutches?’ ‘How could she use the crutches to add to her performance?’


Here are my top favourite answers:
  • ·         Sheila could have broken her foot by spying on Gerald and falling out of a window.
  • ·         Sheila could have dropped the decanter of port on her foot.
  • ·         Sheila could have slipped on a rat in the street.

And finally.
  • ·         Sheila could use the crutch to add to her performance by hitting herself with it when she realises she’s been bad.

All I can say is that there are going to be some BIG changes to my performance tomorrow. And we’ve got the youth of Dudley to thank for it. So thank you youth of Dudley. Thank you.

*Disclaimer to the reader: no fires were lit and no sheep were killed. I’m not a maniac.

Friday, 14 June 2013


The dreaded has happened. And no, before you ask, my skirt did not fall down again. There has been a tidal wave of repercussions involved since telling that story, mainly from various relations sending good luck cards with the HYSTERICAL post script: “Try not to let your skirt fall down… AGAIN!”

It wasn’t funny the first time people, the third was barely tolerable and I was gauging out my eyes with a conch shell by the ninth.

Tenuous ‘Lord of the Flies’ reference there. To reassure you, the acting company of Theatre by the Lake has not started eating one another just yet. Ask me again in October and it may be a different story. If I’m around to be asked that is. I may be gently resting in some unknown duodenum having been forced down via the medium of peristalsis. 

Second name check in two consecutive blogs, she’s a lucky gal.)

If it came to it, I would definitely be one of the first to go. I’ve got very little upper body strength, am prone to making excruciating puns and am blessed with my Mother’s breasts. Yep, I’m a gonner.

What actually happened was that I dried, on stage, in front of 400 people. Yep, I dried. 

For those of you not familiar with the theatrical term to dry, it does not involve any form of towelling and or moisture. Actually, the latter part is a lie; it does involve a certain amount of moisture, mainly the sweat coursing off my clammy palms.

To dry, is a term that actors have coined for when you forget a line, that hideous moment when your mind goes blank, time stands still and all you can do is look at your fellow actor with the facial vacancy of Father Dougal circa 1997.

Yes, I dried. And then I cried. Not on stage mind you, I waited until I was safely ensconced within the comforts of my dressing room and then let a single crystal tear streak down my face to the tune of Mariah Carey’s ‘I Can’t Live, If Living Is Without You.’ DAMN YOU SHUFFLE!

It hasn’t happened since university when, during a ridiculously promiscuous play called The Balcony by Jean Genet directed by our tutor Terri Power (I KNOW, WHAT A NAME) in which one of my friends had to wear a strap on and various members of the cast were clad in fishnets and or corsets, I lost my train of thought and thus forgot my line. 

Considering my surroundings and the aforementioned costume attire, I think a little line slip can be forgiven.

But that was 2006 and this is now. And the fear is still the same. Luckily, it was only the first line of a speech where I blanked and so I managed to “create” a dramatic pause (probably of about 20 minutes) and then start the speech from about half way through. BRILLIANT. 

It was only superfluous exposition that I missed out… No one would have cared that they didn’t find out that Gerald was having an affair with the girl and that it was Eric who got her pregnant. Right?!

I’M KIDDING. Of course I’m kidding. I simply forgot to say, “No that’s no use.” Four little words. But when you can’t think of them they feel like the BIGGEST four words in the history of all words.

Luckily, I’m great at improvising so I told a few jokes, got the audience warmed up and then carried on with the play. KIDDING. Again. We carried on pretty seamlessly without my jokes, although for the record, I think they would have DEFINITELY enriched the audience’s experience. 

There would have been audience participation, balloon animals and a good old sing along to an SClub7 song of my choice. What's not to like!?

It’s amazing how one little slip up can feel MASSIVE but actually, at the end of the day, nobody notices.

A bit like when my dad forgot my birthday. Just kidding. That WAS massive and I definitely DID notice.

Until next time folks!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013


A hurricane has hit Keswick, and no, not a real one- this isn’t 1987 and I am not Michael Fish- (I WISH I WAS MICHAEL FISH) but a mere metaphorical one. And it comes in the form of our work schedule.

I realise that I’ve used an excessively dramatic metaphor for what is, essentially, a boring subject. But yes, we have been working NON-STOP since I last glanced at a FerryEgg let alone wrote one. 

The headless chicken and I have become the best of buds over the past two weeks, like Thelma and Louise, except set in the Lake District and with Louise being played by a decapitated fowl.

(I was always going to be Thelma, Geena Davis is my double denim hero.)

The golden days of frolicking at a village hall ceilidh are over and it’s back to the blood, sweat and tears of the rehearsal room or the “Fire, blood and anguish” of it, to quote a certain Inspector.  

We finished technical rehearsals for Vincent in Brixton on the Thursday, opened on the Friday and then smashed into An Inspector Calls rehearsals on the Monday, performing in the evenings and rehearsing during the days ever since. I feel not too dissimilar to a pop star that has gone to the press with exaggerated claims of exhaustion. 

Maybe I’ll shave my head like Britney... Maybe not. 

Tech rehearsals for Vincent went surprisingly smoothly considering the amount of food that is cooked on set during the performance. I thought we’d end up covered in eggs and sprout peelings; however, the only eggs that made an appearance during the rehearsal process were mine.

You see, in the second half of the play, there is a scene where I have to do some proper acting (shouting and crying- in a Dutch accent no less!) and at the pivotal moment... my skirt fell down. TWICE. I'm not even kidding. On two separate occasions, in two different runs, I was bagged. Bagged to the hilt.

(To bag: a term referring to the ancient art of pulling one's classmates nether garments down. Be it skirt, or trouser, the power of gravity mixed with the determination of one's peers leaves the elastic powerless against the onslaught.)

The gods of Dignity looked down upon me that morning and said,"Nay, you shall have NONE today. Not even a smidge. Not even a tenth of a smidge. Not even a midge on a tenth of a smidge. We have tampered with your what you call 'safety pins' and have deemed them broken. Deal with it." And thus I was bagged. By destiny.


Just to clarify, (for my Mother’s sake) my eggs or ovum as my year 9 biology teacher Ms Hoare would call them (yes, yes her surname was a gift to an over-excitable class of 14 year old girls) did not technically make an appearance. That would be a physical impossibility... or a horrific injury. Neither of which occurred.

Only my undergarments (Marks and Spencers best) and the space where my dignity used to be decided that it was their time to shine. I was merely being vulgar to keep you interested. I’m a product of my generation, what can I say?

But worse things happen at sea don’t they. DON’T THEY?!? So yes, my skirt fell down, twice. But as Fred Astaire advised, I picked myself (and my skirt) up, dusted myself off and started all over again. 

Luckily it hasn’t happened in performance yet, but we’ve got until November so there’s plenty of time… 

(Cue manic touching of wood, crossing of fingers, removing of shoes from tables and any other form of suspicious security blankets available to mankind…)

We start technical rehearsals for An Inspector Calls tomorrow so who knows what will happen then! 

I’ll keep you informed either way. Over and out!