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Noises Off March 2008


Noises Off March 2008

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									(Registered Charity No. 297402)

Issue No.60 March 2008

Editor Brian Veale 0118 933 2672 Chairman Yvonne Maynard 0118 948 4602 Secretary Maggie Preston 0118 975 6387 Membership Secretary Julia Sadler 0118 948 2438 Patrons Janet Hayhoe 0118 969 5759 NB. e-addresses can be found on the Society’s website at

From the Editor’s desk
Well, HMS Pinafore’s visit to The Hexagon was without doubt a success, with enthusiastic audiences each night who showed how much they enjoyed this colourful production. But it was not without its surprises, and those who recall the Society’s 1998 production of The Gondoliers will have experienced a sense of déjà vu. Then Andrew Mackie’s (Marco) loss of voice on the first night was overcome when Roger Taylor “voiced over” the singing from the orchestra pit. On this occasion, coincidentally again the first night, Simon Hutson, who played Ralph Rackstraw, was admirably supported by Steve Chaytow, to whom we are extremely grateful for stepping in at the last moment to sing in the pit. Thanks go to those who rallied round to ensure that the show would go on when faced with every Society’s worst nightmare – particularly Yvonne Maynard, Lindsay Hall, John Lawes, David Harrison, and the Hexagon’s technical staff - and to members of the cast and orchestra who made Steve so welcome. The date for principal auditions for our next show, Die Fledermaus is fast approaching and I am sure that those intending to seek parts will be making their preparations. In the Spring issue of the London edition of the NODA News there can be found an extract of David Rust’s 1985 website entitled “The Amateur Actor” (unfortunately I can’t direct you to the actual site as my Googling has been unsuccessful in tracing it). Although written twenty years ago David’s tips on how to approach auditions are equally relevant today, and aspiring principals might find it helpful to read them. Too long to reproduce in this newsletter, if you’d like to read the article it can be found on the notice board at rehearsals. Alternatively the entire magazine is available – contact Yvonne Maynard. David Rust is, as members will know, one of the Society’s Vice Presidents and a veteran of the Society’s stage. Elsewhere in this newsletter is a formal notice that the AGM will be held on 5th June 2008, so make a note in your diary now. Perhaps too, give some thought about taking an active part in managing the Society by standing for election to the Management Committee. Finally, thanks to those members who have contributed to this edition.

100 CLUB
The winners of the FEBRUARY 2008 draw were: 1st prize of £20 2nd prize of £10 3rd prize of £5 4th prize of £5 Mrs R. Moore Mark Williams Jean Pratt Carol Hardy No. No. No. No. 51 40 56 105

The bad news is that if you haven’t renewed your annual membership subscription you have missed the opportunity of a discount on the amount payable.

CONGRATULATIONS to Barrie Theobald who retired from the altar at St Peter’s Church after sixty years. -oWELCOME as a patron to Janet Lake. Janet is of course well known previously as a member of the Society. Although, unfortunately, a move from the immediate area has made it impractical for her to continue her performing membership, she wishes to support the Society. Janet intends to keep in contact with am dram and has joined Basingstoke Amateur Theatrical Society with whom she will be playing Tess in their next production – Crazy For You – at The Anvil Theatre, Basingstoke between 13th and 17th May 2008. -oMANY HAPPY RETURNS to Abigail Clarke who celebrated her birthday on 31st January. -oCONGRATULATIONS to Jill Lawes (aka Morgan) on reaching the big 6 (altogether now) “Oh”, on 10th February 2008. -oA BELATED WELCOME to new members Rachel Leahy and Jackie Stoffels. -oCONGRATULATIONS to Marian Barlow and John Lawes who have been with the Society for fifty years.

Brian Veale


The Newsletter of Reading Operatic Society

As forecast in the previous newsletter this will be held on Saturday 15th MARCH 2008 in St Peter’s Church Hall, Earley.

As usual, helpers and jumble are required. For further details, contact David Price.

First reaction on arriving on stage at the Hexagon was “where has all the floor space that we had been used to in rehearsal gone? Prosceneium’s excellent set had seriously reduced the stage and initially this caused difficulties for the large cast. Undaunted, the ladies, complete with crinoline hoops, sailed across the stage to complete their moves – woe betide the unwary tar who found himself in the way! – and as the week went by all the empty spaces were found and everyone negotiated their moves successfully, Not entirely without incident though: fortunately Dick Deadeye’s quick reactions, for which he received applause from the audience and the grateful thanks of the second trombone, prevented a barrel, which had been knocked over, from rolling into the pit. We empathised with Simon Hutson when he lost his voice, thankfully it returned after the opening night. Our grateful thanks go to Stephen Chaytow who sings with the Imperial Male Voice Choir (see who “voiced over” for Ralph. We hope that Steve enjoyed the experience with us. All in all a successful show, enjoyed by all including Jacquie Stedman (NODA London Area Councillor) who viewed it early in the week. Finally, if you haven’t handed in your borrowed scores and librettos please do so without delay.

the tulip fields are put in jeopardy when, in quick succession, his Mother discharges herself from her sheltered accommodation, his son breaks his ankle and his daughter arrives in a state of advanced pregnancy, not to mention the nervous new puppy that’s leaving puddles all round the flat! More importantly, will he ever get the chance to try out Diagram 9 from the sex manual? -oSTARMAKER will be performing HOT MIKADO at South Hill Park Arts Centre, The Wilde Theatre, Bracknell between 4th and 8th March 2008. Ticket prices are from £13 to £17 with concessions available. Box office: 0118 978 9238. -oTHE HENLEY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA will be in The Hexagon on Sunday 16th March 2008 when they will be performing Mozart’s Còsi fan tutte; Dvorak’s Cello Concerto in B minor and Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique. Tickets for this concert from the Hexagon (0118 960 6060) are £15, £12 and £10, with normal concessions. -oSAINSBURY SINGERS will also be in the Hexagon when they will be performing Cole Porter’s KISS ME, KATE . You are invited to brush up your Shakespeare with this musical version of Taming of the Shrew. Opening on 22nd April 2008 the show runs for the week. Tickets @ £8 - £17 can be obtained in advance 0118 988 2519.

Arrangements have now been made for a Concert which will be held in the Hexagon on SUNDAY 13TH APRIL 2008 at 7pm as a tribute to Geoff Bamford. Amateur Societies in the Reading area, all of whom benefited from Geoff’s expertise in the lighting box, are getting together for this concert. The Society will be rehearsing for the concert on Thursdays evenings in the run up to the date, details from Yvonne Maynard. Other Societies performing include Berzerk Productions; Crowthorne Musical Players; Henley Amateur Operatic & Dramatic Society; the Linda Butler School of Dancing; Maiden Erleigh School; Starmaker Theatre Company; The Sainsbury Singers and Woodley Light Operatic Society. Proceeds from the evening will go to The Cardiac Fund, The Royal Berkshire Hospital. Tickets at £10 are available until the end of March from Jean Theobald, (0118 926 7135) and then from the Hexagon Box Office (0118 960 606060).


Barrie Theobald is directing Eric Chappell’s family comedy which will be presented at the Shinfield Players’ Theatre, Whitley Wood Lane (well signposted from the Black Boy Roundabout). Now we know what Barrie’s been getting up to on Thursday evenings (he assures me rehearsals left no time for practicing positions!!). You may like to support both Barrie and our Shinfield Players friends by going along to watch the story develop – most of our props for HMS Pinafore came free of charge from their props store, so it would be a nice way to say ‘Thank you’. So what is Haywire all about? . . . . . . . . Alex plans for a dirty weekend with his shop assistant whilst his wife is on a tour to By the time you read these newsletter rehearsals for the next show will have started. It is of course Johann Strauss II’s popular comic opera in three acts (much longer than HMS Pinafore!) which will be performed at The Hexagon between 23rd - 27th SEPTEMBER 2008. Society last performed this show in 1999 and for those not familiar with the story, here is the synopsis:“Baron Eisenstein has been sentenced to a week's imprisonment for contempt of court. Before he goes to jail, he's persuaded to go, in disguise, to a ball being given by Prince Orlofsky. Three years earlier, Falke, disguised as a bat for a fancy-dress ball, was made to walk home in broad daylight as a joke by Eisenstein and ever since he has been plotting his


revenge. Rosalinda sees her husband depart, as she thinks, for prison, and admits her lover, Alfred. The prison governor arrives to collect Eisenstein and assumes Alfred to be him. To protect Rosalinda's reputation, Alfred volunteers to be taken off to prison as Eisenstein. At the ball given by Prince Orlofsky, Adele, wearing one of her mistress's gowns, has gate-crashed the ball. Baron Eisenstein flirts outrageously with her, watched by his wife, whom Falke has disguised as a Hungarian Countess. The Baron then turns his attentions to the mysterious Countess, who manages to get a hold of his watch during their tête-à-tête. The ball ends in praise of champagne and all swearing eternal friendship. The clock strikes six in the morning and Gabriel and Frank go their separate ways to prison. Eisenstein arrives at the prison to begin his prison sentence. He is amazed to find he is being impersonated by Alfred and furious when he discovers his wife has a lover. Rosalinda counters with the watch the 'Countess' obtained at the ball and his flirting with their maid Adele. Falke arrives to explain it was all a joke to get his revenge. Champagne is blamed for the confusion and champagne is drunk to celebrate reconciliation”.
Auditions for principal parts will be held at St Peter’s Church Hall on SUNDAY 16th MARCH 2008 starting at 2.30pm. Auditions are open to members and non-members; an audition fee of £10 is payable by non-members but this will be taken into consideration towards the membership fee if the nonmember is successful in obtaining a part. Details of the music and libretto audition pieces have been posted on the notice board at rehearsals and on the Society’s website. Prospective ‘auditionees’ without access to the internet can obtain details of the pieces from any member of the committee. If you are intending to audition please let the Secretary know BEFORE the date so that she can prepare for the day, Members of the audition panel will be: Toby Cruse Henry Hawes John Lawes Jill Morgan A committee member We are delighted to welcome Henry Hawes and Toby Cruse as visiting members of the audition panel. Henry will already be well known to members as our District NODA Representative. Toby has worked on over 200 theatrical productions, both as Musical Director/Supervisor, orchestral musician and/or vocal coach, and is recognised internationally as an authority on musical theatre. He also works as an audition and rehearsal MD/pianist for a number of production companies. In 1999, he formed the Thames Valley Sinfonia and Thames Valley Sinfonia Chorus and has since been invited to conduct a variety of other ensembles. He is frequently asked to coach bands, choirs and, as a voice teacher, soloists (many from West End musicals). He also finds time to teach at a number of schools and colleges in addition to running workshops for various theatrical institutions.

complain about the acoustics of the theatre and the apparent inability of the Hexagon technical staff to get the sound system right. Has this perhaps been because professional performers with whom we share the theatre now don’t venture in front of an audience without a microphone close to their cheeks and that the theatre is unable to meet the demands of a chorus on stage? Congratulations are therefore due to the sound technician at the Hexagon for the marked improvement at recent shows so that at last our audiences appear to have no difficulty in hearing dialogue, no matter from where on stage it is delivered. Appearing on the stage of a large theatre such as the Hexagon is a great opportunity for budding artistes. It is also a challenge especially if the theatre’s acoustics or sound systems are not up to the mark. So, to be on the safe side, if performers are to ensure that audiences don’t have to struggle to understand what is said on stage attention must be paid to voice production and projection. Our Society has been successful in past years in casting principals who have met these criteria, and it has been able to maintain its principle of not using personal microphones which, as well as adding significantly to production costs, abdicate the musical dynamics to the sound engineer and distort the balance between principals and chorus.

Formal notice is given of the Annual General Meeting of Reading Operatic Society which will be held at St Peter’s Church Hall on THURSDAY 5TH JUNE 2008 at 8 pm. A copy of the Agenda and relevant documents to be put before the AGM will be sent to members nearer the date. In the meantime members are reminded that written notice of any business which a member wishes to be transacted at the AGM, including nominations for President, Vice Presidents, Chairman, other officers (each for a one year term), 2 Committee Members (each for a three year term) and auditor should be sent to the Secretary no later than 8th MAY 2008. Nominations must be signed by the proposer and seconder (who must both be members of the Society) and countersigned by the nominee to indicate acceptance of the nomination and to confirm that s/he is not disqualified from acting as a Trustee of a Charity. Maggie Preston has indicated that she will not be standing for re-election as the Society’s Secretary at the AGM.

Those of us who have been regular performers at The Hexagon will be accustomed to hearing members of the audience


Two weeks in Rio de Janeiro in the middle of the British winter learning to do the samba, and taking part in the world’s biggest carnival. That sounded like too good an idea to miss! So at the beginning of February I found myself dressed in red and purple, with a giant butterfly on my back, parading down the Rio Sambradrome with hundreds of other participants, pretending to sing in Portuguese and dancing the samba – all in front of an
audience of around 65,000.

leprosy sufferers which make a real difference as they protect against further injury and also cover deformities. If members of the Society would like to ‘buy’ a pair of ‘shoes’ from me they cost £3 and will be available at rehearsals. I would be grateful for your support. Barbara Moore

Rio is an amazing city, the scenery is spectacular - sea, mountains and beautiful beaches. We were staying in a lovely area called Santa Teresa, with leafy, cobbled streets, in a guesthouse run by a Brazilian couple. At carnival time the city never sleeps, the samba beat continues throughout the night. As well as the main celebrations in the Sambradrome there are street parties (bandas or blocos), all over Rio, when crowds, often dressed up in costume, follow a band down a predetermined route. The trip to Rio was organised by Jingado Rio holidays, and we were a group of fourteen, with ages ranging from twenties to sixties. Our two weeks there were action packed. We had eighteen hours of dance lessons learning Samba No Pe (which is danced solo, and very fast), Samba Gafiera (danced in couples) and Forro (danced in couples, and very close). We had a Capoeira (Brazilian martial arts) lesson; went to a football match; did some sightseeing which included going to Sugar Loaf Mountain to see the huge Christ the Redeemer statue; went to Copacabana beach; had a Portuguese lesson and sampled several of Rio’s nightclubs. We also took part in two community projects in local favelas (hillside shanty towns) – one involved painting the exterior of houses in the favela and the other was working with an after-school club which aimed to keep children away from the criminal gangs that are often a fact of life in the favelas. Rio does have a reputation for being a dangerous city to visit, and you do have to be careful to protect your belongings. However, I thoroughly enjoyed my two weeks there and would love to return. My next venture, is to do the Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu in Peru in May this year, when I am fund-raising for Lepra Although this venture is some months away members of the Society will already have seen me preparing for it while waiting backstage, walking up and down stairs. That has attracted quite a few funny looks during show week! I visited India with Lepra three years ago to see some of their work with people with leprosy, HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria. One of their projects provides shoes for

Visit the Society’s web-site at to find a great way of getting some fantastic on-line bargains, find cheaper gas and electricity services and even book a holiday and at the same time earn commission for the Society. So go on, top up your CD/DVD collection, or, if you're making business purchases, why not make them from our webshop? For example, you can buy computer equipment, great value broadband or stationery from Euroffice; there are plenty of offers on DIY products, clothing and lots more from big high street names. There is also a special offer for home or car insurance which will yield £85 for every product purchased. So what do you need to do? First go to the home page of the Society’s web-site. Click on the link “We don’t just sing” and from there use the search facility to compare a product name (e.g. kettle) with all of our retailers to help you find the best price. You pay exactly the same price as on the retailers’ main sites, often lower than on the high street. The commission earned by the Society comes out of the retailers’ profit margin - it is their marketing spend. If you normally do your shopping on line you will have nothing to lose and the Society will have everything to gain.

Advance notice is given that the Society will be holding a stall at the Arborfield Fête on SATURDAY 21st JUNE 2008. Offers of help on the day will be gratefully received - if you are interested and will be available please let Jean Theobald know.


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