When I was at school, a long time before I joined that Theatre group, I always loved drama and performing- all the way from primary. If there was a play in Assembly- I would jump at the chance to be in it and when it came to the Christmas and Summer “big” production I would jump at the opportunity to take part- and normally I would be snubbed because the auditions (for the upper half of the school) were ran by the Headmaster who not only had favourites.. also had a big list of people that were the total opposite, and they always suffered.
However in my penultimate year at Primary, for reasons I don’t really know, the summer play was done by some of the teachers who were teaching the year 5 and 6 classes. This made a big difference because, not only was I given a part: it was a significant and I also got to appear alongside one of m oldest friends which was an added bonus. The play in question was Oliver Twist, or to be more accurate a streamlined production of Lionel Bart’s musical Oliver! and my friend and I were cast as the Artful Dodger and Fagin… yes, they cast me, the half Jewish kid, as Fagin. At the time I didn’t think about the implications and it is more then likely neither did the teachers. Essentially what the play consisted of was a choir singing the songs in chronological order (more or less) and the cast pretty much provided linking material between the songs and a quite substantial change to the ending was made probably just to keep it simple and to avoid some of the more unsavory aspects of the story which are hinted at in the musical an quite prevalent in Dickens’ original novel. At the end of the production, the headmaster informed the assembled audience that after watching the play, he thought my friend and I had discovered our future careers…. I am going to assume that he meant acting….
A few weeks later I was reading a copy of Doctor Who Magazine and it featured an interview with the actor Alan Bennion, who played the ‘boss’ Ice Warrior in three Doctor Who serials between 1969 and 1974, and in the interview he stated that his first semi-professional role was as Fagin in a stage production of Oliver Twist. Upon reading that I suddenly felt like I had been validated, ah the misconceptions of youth eh?
Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Twist