Wednesday, September 21, 2011

There's a general rule when it comes to props and the lending of Things for use within a play that you shouldn't lend anything that you really don't want to lose.

It's not that we actor / director types are so wild cavalier and irresponsible that we can't be trusted with a preciousness. But more that in the general (hair-sticking-up-flurry) of putting the show together, it's possible that certain items, may at certain points, get overlooked or mislaid or placed somewhere that someone believes to be unfailingly foolproof secret safe - and then no-one can find it again.

And then the director is left with a lurking pit of dread in their stomach when The Thing cannot be retrieved and returned to the once proud now despairing owner. Such as was experienced last summer with the precious sailor's hat once belonging to someone's (possibly even now dead) father during his prized and fondly recollected naval days.

Take this feeling of doubt and self-loathing and magnify it by 1,000,000,000 when The Thing is lent by A Child.

But in this instance (this festival), as The Thing was a golden snake necklace, it seemed like too good a prop / costume opportunity to pass up. So I took it - albeit with hesitation - and with many attempts to gauge the perceived emotional value of the said serpent. And I deemed that it was a risk worth taking.

More fool me.

Suddenly it was lost.

The loss was discovered only in the wake of the play. When Child's mother reasonably enquired as to its whereabouts. "Oh well" (a sad look and sigh) "if it is lost, well I suppose it'll be alright. But I don't know where I'd get another such thing. As it was quite (sideways sorrowful look) UNUSUAL, you know...?"

Oh yes. I know.

So I scoured my house in case it was lurking nesting in the heap of costumes on my hall floor. Cleo and I we scoured the props cupboard and the shower (yes indeed) at the rehearsal rooms to see if it had slithered down some pesky gap. I sifted through the dust and the mothwings at our props / costume / set store in case it had slithered of its own accord to live amongst more dead kindred. And nothing. No serpent.

I must be honest. I had given up hope. (Don't tell the Child's Mother. She must never doubt my ability to take care - good care - of any precious props. I also had Mother's Father's prized golden paper knife which became Cleo's death weapon of choice.)

Until I set about the final stages of the clear up of my long neglected home at the weekend. Finally, I hauled the other crumpled dresses out of the Morrisons carrier bag long lying neglected on my chaise longue to hang them more respectfully on my student's clothing rail. And - wait - what's this? - nestling at the bottom of the shabby supermarket carrier, one golden shoe and - hzah! - a golden snake!

Honour, at last, is restored.

The lesson is - don't live like a pig.

For your piggery shall find you out.


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