My guest today is Marie, wife of John Hunter, who has been directing an amateur dramatic society’s production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Marie, who comes from The Unkindest Cut of All by Sue Barnard, has been kind enough to share an entry from her diary.
Monday 10th March
Well, that went pretty well for a first night, considering all the problems we’ve had. It didn’t help that Brian arrived five minutes late, which sent John into a blind panic before we’d even started. But then, that’s Brian for you. Always thinks that normal rules don’t apply to him. To be quite honest I’ve no idea how anyone ever puts up with him. The play’s the thing, I suppose.
After all this time, I find it hard to believe that we’ve actually got to this stage. John has been eating, breathing and sleeping that wretched play for the past two months. Well, longer than that, I suppose, if I include all the time he spent reading and studying it before they started rehearsing.
Heaven alone knows why he wanted to do Julius Caesar. I know he’s always loved Shakespeare, but it definitely wouldn’t have been my first choice of play. And in any case, why pick a tragedy, when there are so many good comedies to choose from? But then, as Sarah pointed out, at least John didn’t go for Titus Andronicus. We should be grateful for small mercies. Maybe it was the timing – Ides of March, and all that.
I did Julius Caesar at school. I didn’t remember a great deal about it, apart from one lesson when we were reading one of the scenes in class, and at the point where it says Enter the Ghost of Caesar, the classroom door opened and in walked the headmistress, who must have been pushing sixty and looked like something out of a horror film. It seemed absolutely hilarious to us at the time.
Nobody could accuse me of not remembering a great deal about it now! But it’s always the same. When John gets his teeth into a task, it takes over his entire life – and mine – for the duration. By the time we get to performance week, I reckon I could be the all-purpose emergency understudy for the whole cast.
Thank goodness for Sarah. She’s been an absolute trooper, taking over only a couple of weeks ago when Diane fell ill. Nobody’s quite sure what was the matter with Diane, but her mother rang me this afternoon to say that she’s been rushed into hospital. Poor girl. I know she felt really bad about having to drop out. I’m going to go and see her tomorrow. The cast all signed a card for her after the performance tonight. I hope that might cheer her up a bit.
One down, five to go. Maybe when the week is over I might actually get my husband back! But we’ve still got to get through the rest of the run first. Here’s hoping nothing else goes wrong between now and Saturday evening…