Keith & Annabel Morrigan on Tuesday, 12 June, 2012 at 10:38:17
Hello everybody, now we have the facility we thought you may be interested in some slightly more personal stuff!
Here are a few recent photos, taken by Keith, of my friends and me acting in the seventh modern cycle of the Lichfield Mysteries. These 25 traditional plays depicting bible stories from the Creation through to Doomsday are presented by amateur groups every three years over the Sunday and Monday of the early May bank holiday. I played a mother in the “Slaughter of the Innocents” where Herod, determined to kill the newborn King Jesus, orders the murder of all the local babies.
We started rehearsals way back in February under the guidance of our capable director Margaret Jackman - a professional actress of many years experience. Many of our group were volunteers rounded up by Judy Barker from the Lichfield Gospel Choir - my sister Libby and I included along with other “withered wives” from our choir. Most of us had only a few lines to learn (thank goodness) and we sang the Coventry carol prior to our babies being slaughtered.
Kevin Royal, who played Herod in vile and threatening manner, was an old hand having acted in every modern Mysteries cycle! Ian Jackson, another regular performer was First soldier and we gradually saw over the rehearsals our polite and friendly crew transform into reluctant but determined killers.
All of the plays are performed twice on the Sunday, (once in the open air venue at the market square and once in our magnificent Cathedral) and twice on the Monday. Although it was a cold and gloomy forecast we were lucky and did not get rained on - however thermals were required!
Never having been involved in this huge community project before it was inspiring to see the dedication and commitment that is made by so many people. Obviously, there are all the actors, dancers, singers and directors, ranging in age from primary school children to the retired. Behind the scenes the numbers may be even larger - costumes have to be stored, labelled and cleaned each season. Many volunteers work behind the scenes to create a wonderful, free, two day event.
In the Cathedral we wore microphones and I think the crew who worked on the constant stream of actors needing them fitting (then needing them removing in time for the next bunch of actors to be fitted) – were brilliant - I think this job must have been very stressful.
For me the feeling of being part of a very old tradition and the sheer fun of taking part is fantastic. It’s a brilliant opportunity to meet new people and make friends and contacts. It was quite daunting to perform in front of so many people - at least I only had two lines to remember. I just hope we were loud enough to be heard in the marketplace - cough sweets before-hand were required.
In the 2009 mysteries cycle our children Amber and Ruby were involved - Amber acting with The Friary school drama group and Ruby singing in the Young Voices Choir run by the brilliant Cathy Lamb of the Cathedral school. I enjoyed watching them but was a bit jealous not to be doing anything myself so I was delighted to get the chance to join in this time. I’ve lived in Lichfield for 20 odd years so I thought it was about time I made my acting debut (and managed to get my sister to do it as well) in the Mysteries and I am so glad that I have now achieved this ambition.