We'll be virtuous in the new year
Exciting news from BaCStage Towers – we have chosen our next production. In April 2016 we will be performing Virtue Triumphant, a comedy melodrama by Pat Norris.
Now, there’s one thing we need to deal with straight away. If you are BaCStage’s oldest or longest fan, or you’ve scoured every pixel of this website gorging yourself on details of our past exploits (and why wouldn’t you?) you will know that we have in fact performed this play before, albeit some time ago. “What’s this?” you might be thinking, “have they run out of new ideas? Are they getting into the festive spirit by going all ‘BBC2 at Christmas’ and starting to show repeats? Will their next panto be the 1976 Morecambe and Wise Christmas special, complete with that breakfast scene, Angela Rippon’s legs and Andrew Preview on the piano?” In a word, no. We have plenty of new scripts in the pipeline that will keep us occupied for quite some time to come so no, we’re not getting into the repeats business (although I can’t promise that we won’t one day inflict middle-aged men in pyjamas on an unsuspecting public). So why are we reviving this show from our past? Allow me to elaborate.
We first performed Virtue Triumphant as the Millennium Players, back in the last millennium. Of all the shows from “the old days” there is nostalgia for this one in particular from those who were there at the time, even though many of them can’t quite remember what exactly it was that they did in it (bless ’em). Most of today’s BaCStagers weren’t in the Millennium Players back then, though. Indeed, some of the cast of 2016 weren’t even born the last time we did this play, so for most of us it will be a new experience. We expect that the same can be said of the audience as well; either they (you) didn’t see it last time round, or else it has since been eclipsed by things we have done more recently – for example, this:
… and who will ever forget this?
Any excuse to flash the BaCStage knickers one more time.
The other thing we always bear in mind when choosing a play is trying to find a script that best accommodates all the actors wanting to take part. During our most recent clean-up session at the ODS, when we ventured into previously uncharted storage territory, we uncovered a surprisingly large stash of actors all keen to have a run-out in our next production. Of all the scripts any of us had in mind, none was quite so accommodating as Virtue. For those of you not familiar with actors, they are a bit like horses – they get restless and skittish if not regularly exercised, and there’s only so many times you can throw a rug over them and lock them in a barn.
So, taking all of that into account, we decided to indulge ourselves in what theatre types like to call a “revival”. For our younger reader, that’s a bit like a “reboot”.
So, that’s the history dealt with. What of the play itself? Virtue Triumphant, or Her Honour in Peril to give it its full title, is a comedy melodrama with a hint of the panto about it, and even a dash of Carry On film for good measure. Set in Ye Olde Victorian Tymes, it features a dashing young hero, a fair maiden, a wicked squire, a hapless policeman, a small boy, the clergy, and a plethora of peasants, yokels and bumpkins. There are comely wenches and crumpet (buttered), gravediggers and ghosts, love’s young dream, marriages, murders, perfidious plans and deeds both dastardly and daring. In short, there’s a bit of this, a bit of that – and a fair amount of ‘the other’. And a raffle. It promises to be quite a night!
We’ve chosen a play only a little over a month since finishing our last production, which is remarkably quick by our standards. We will be spending the festive period preparing ourselves the way only actors can. Once we’ve sobered up it’ll be straight into rehearsals in early January, by which time there will be only 14 weeks till opening night. Time is sure to fly when you’re chasing comely wenches round the village!
Just in case anyone is getting a bit too excited at the prospect of what is to come, I would like to clarify that it is the crumpet that will be buttered, not the aforementioned wenches. And that’s crumpet as in toast, not crumpet as in… crumpet.