The entire audience was asked to move forward so the cameras could capture the sea of heads nodding at the action on the stage. I found myself separated from Noel and placed on the front row between a couple of dapper-looking gents. One whipped his spotted silk handkerchief from his pocket with a flourish, dabbed his forehead and gave me a serious looking-at.
“Dah-ling,”, he punctuated his syllables with handkerchief dabs, “which agency are you with?” he asked. His friend was distracted from adding a little rouge to his cheeks, using a rather natty enamel and Swarovski compact which I immediately coveted. “We’re background artists with Acme Ace Actors Agency,” he said. The other’s handkerchief dabbing reached fever pitch. “I’ve just had a walk-on part in the latest Agatha Christie, I was the third gent on the left in the murder scene.” “Yes,” said his friend,”next time he gets his own line.”
“Oh,” I told them, “I’m not an actress, I’m a bureaucrat, I’m just here for a laugh.”. Well, you could have knocked them over with a jewelled compact and a spotty handkerchief. It seemed that there at the front, I was the only one without an agent, unless you count Noel, which I don’t, he’s more a general supporter and tea-maker.
It was a friend who’d alerted me to the filming at City Varieties, one of my favourite theatres. The directors needed an audience to react to what was happening on stage. I could tell you what it was called and who the director is, but I signed a release form which means I can’t reveal any details or I may never act again…..
For a few hours, we swapped and changed our seats to please the cameras. We watched the actors deliver their lines so many times I could have got up on stage and said them myself. I can’t wait to see it on the big screen, I’ll be able to repeat the lines with them, that’s if they make the final cut.
This was the very first day of filming, everything was shiny and new, there was an air of excitement and anticipation. The director confessed the film was a labour of love, as he’s also co-written it. His mum was in the audience and cheered him loudly, we all did, because he seems like a nice guy.
So we collected our £10 payment, which just about covered the eye-wateringly expensive parking in the city centre and a decent coffee, so that wasn’t from Starbucks then. It was a great experience, I can now describe myself as a background artist, the posh name for extras, but I’m not going to, because I’m a bureaucrat. It is my calling….