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Thursday, January 10, 2013


During those early years I was the co-director of a youth theatre group of which all my progeny, as well as the neighbour Newman, were members. 

Every year we would stage a big musical production in the July school holidays and a smaller Christmas pantomime in December. 

Padraic and Hagar weren't interested in the acting/singing side of things, but they liked to hang out backstage ‘assisting’ the stage manager and partaking of the post-production cast party festivities. 

Thaddeus, Jonah and Newman usually performed in significant roles whilst Lulu was relegated to the chorus line as she was still so young.

One year we were producing “Peter Pan- the Croc Rock Musical” and we needed to get some props made for the ‘Lost Boys’, namely; bows and arrows, blowpipes and other such weaponry.

 Newman immediately volunteered his services as his Dad had only recently been fashioning bows and arrows with pieces of bamboo for him and George to play with. As soon as we arrived home from rehearsal the boys eagerly took off down the gully to Newman’s to construct the armaments.

I must admit when I saw their artistic handiwork I was quite impressed. They were fabulous and looked absolutely authentic (unlike our usual feeble attempts to create props).
“Great work, boys!” I gushed. “Make sure you thank your Dad for me Newman.”

At rehearsal the next day we handed out the various items to Slightly, Curly, the Twins, Tootles, Nibs and the rest of the gang with strict instructions not to actually fire any of the weapons as they would distract the audience and might fall on the floor and trip someone.
 “What about me?” trilled Tootles. “I have to shoot the Wendy bird, remember?”

After a swift discussion with the other directors we agreed that yes, Tootles (and Tootles only) could shoot the arrow off the stage into the wings, and that should be okay. Besides we needed to make sure the arrow didn't just drop lifelessly on to the middle of the stage.

The crucial moment in the play arrived. Tootles, with all the confidence of William Tell fired the arrow towards the wings. 

You know how at critical moments time seems to slow down? 

Well that is exactly what happened. 

I was standing with Todd, one of the other directors, in the auditorium. We watched the arrow magnificently sail high across the stage towards the wings on the other side straight towards the… Oh Shit!

There was a loud scream. We had completely forgotten about our unfortunate seventy-five year old pianist cheerfully playing in the wings. 
There was blood. 
Newman’s Dad had industriously added metal tips to the arrows to ensure they would have enough weight to enable a lengthy and accurate flight path.

 That was ten years ago and Mrs. Lappin has only just forgiven me.