© Alan Richardson 2021
The curtains open on a tableau horribly familiar to devotees of amateur drama festivals -
MADGE It would be most remiss of me not to thank those unseen and unsung people without whose hard work our festival would be impossible. Please reserve your applause until I’ve mentioned everybody. Needless to say, Madge has a little list of those to be thanked. The others in the platform party are relieved to see that Madge’s notes are confined to one small folded piece of paper. Their relief turns to horror when that paper unfolds concertina style into a list that falls almost to the floor First of all, I’d like to thank John Mitchell and his backstage stalwarts who have toiled enormously all week. I’m so glad that a little misunderstanding over expenses didn’t dampen their usual esprit de corps.
A raspberry is blown offstage
Ahem… yes. But backstage is only the tip of the iceberg. We mustn’t miss all our front of house helpers. Those lovely cups of coffee don’t make themselves, you know. For that, we must extend our hearty thanks to Mrs. Jarvis for her relentless work in the coffee bar. You can take it from me; she has slaved like a darkie…
Immediate reaction of disapproval from the platform party and the “plants” in the audience. Madge anxiously checks her notes
Oh, dear. Made a slight faux pas there. I should have thanked Mrs. King for the coffee bar. Mrs. Jarvis, of course, manned the box office most… manfully. Then there’s Keith Burrrows, our front-
“Tut, tuts” and similar shocked reactions from the platform party and the “plants” in the audience
Yes, totally unfounded allegations by individuals who will remain nameless.
But she fixes her gaze on a particular section of the audience
WILSON (rising) Madam Chairperson, those responsible are out of order! Name names! (He comes forward and points to the audience) Name the alligators!
MADGE Fear not, Councillor, the “alligators” will be dealt with at our next A.G.M.
Councillor Wilson returns to his chair
Finally, I have one last big vote of thanks, to the man of the moment, our adjudicator, Mister Gilbert Hanwell… (Consults notes) Sorry… Hamnell. Don’t worry; I’ll get it right by tomorrow night. She laughs at her little joke, but Gilbert is far from amused
Where would we be without our adjudicator. He has impressed us, I think, with his theatrical know-