A Hard Night’s Work

Tell us about a time when you managed to extract yourself from a sticky situation at the very last minute

This is a story going back to my days in Theatre and it was very much a last minute change of plan.

It was two plays after we had done Murder at the Manor that plans for an original piece were put in the air again and the topic of genre was floating around. We had done murder mystery, comedy, kitchen sink drama and pantomime, so when it came to doing an original there was debate as to what to do and two genres were favovred: Sci-fi and Erotic Drama. Budget reasons essentially came into play and it was deemed that a sci-fi piece would be to expensive/difficult  to do (well that was the given reason, it may simply have because the storyline I submitted was a bit of a combination of The Fly and The Quatermass Experiment), so it was an Erotic Drama which was favoured. So, a script was prepared and the basics of the story were outlined to allow for props and costumes to be prepared etc and two weeks later the script was delivered to us and we went through the piece before the subject of casting turned up. As you might expect from the genre there was a certain degree of sex and nudity involved in the play, so there was a bit of a nervous buzz going around  the group when it came to casting calls as  this was more in the vain of the late night offerings you’d get on Channel 5 rather then Last Tango in Paris. Some of the group were forthright and declared quite simply that they wouldn’t play any part if they had to take their clothes off and thus volunteered for the smaller supporting roles or behind the scenes work. A few were of the frame of mind of no problem, but it is fair to say the majority were ok about it albeit slightly nervous. So when it came to casting calls, the first thing which was requested when being considered for main roles was to undress to attain how suitable the person was for the role, taking birth marks, scars, tattoos etc into consideration, a factor I thought would rule me out due to having stained skin from psoriasis treatment. This was duly noted, but a few things played the other direction. 1. I had done a brief nude scene in Murder in the Manor, 2. I was very good at running lines, so could be a good prompt to the other actors, 3. I was reasonably skinny back then so they played a factor. In short I was awarded one of the male leads. It was about two weeks before curtain that a couple of snags arrived. Uni work was mounting up so I was having less time in rehearsals, but there were beginning to be on set issues, the principal one being a comment one of the girls made as a joke that they must be the only girls in the world who could be bonked by soft guys and it was the aftermath of this comment that certain changes were made. Due to Uni work, I missed two days rehearsal so on the Wednesday night it was my first full “dress rehearsal” and as such I hadn’t had the benefit of the previous ones, so I still had few jitters when it came to going nude. So when it came to the first scene I was a bit nervous and stood in such a way to obscure myself, but I soon eased into the scenes. They were awkward at first but I got used to it, however another two issues arose. A deadline was moved forward and it was very close to Curtain and another decision was made, due to the previous comment it was decided that we guys would have to do some of the nude scenes fully erect, which I wasn’t overly comfy with. When I talked with the cast and crew about it there was some debate amoungst them as to whether do it or not, but it was agreed to see how we all felt in rehearsal. So next rehearsal for two of the scenes I performed with my Penis fully erect which despite some positive feedback didn’t feel right for me, so using Uni as an excuse I dropped out. Lucky I did as mid performance on opening night there was a fire alarm meaning the building had to be evacuated. Narrow escape there.

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