Saturday, 25 July 2015

In Fog 5: The Changing Face of Railway Safety

It's fair to say that if you want to create drama about the railways, this usually involves staging a crash of one form or another. So it should be no surprise that both productions at the Railway Museum this summer feature either a crash averted by waving some famous red knickers (The Railway Children) or a financial and physical train crash (In Fog and Falling Snow). 

You would think that watching this happen night after night, we would become inured to it, but I wasn't expecting the emotional impact. I spend every working day maintaining railway earthworks to protect the travelling public. Part of my training is to read the detailed Rail Accident Investigation Branch reports which detail the consequences of not doing so (including the many minor incidents which could have been so much worse). So watching people scream for help amid the wreckage of a train (even one made of large wooden boxes) is literally my worst nightmare, and it frequently made me cry during the show. It probably didn't help that the news was full of sad stories from "7/7 ten years on" during the last week of the production.

Friday, 24 July 2015

In Fog 4: The Out-Takes

You may have noticed I've been taking a rest from blogging while I was performing in "In Fog and Falling Snow", so this is a chance to reflect on how it went. June and July were fairly intense, with choir rehearsals or performances most evenings and every Saturday, and family visiting me to come and see the play. It was worth it, because we produced something amazing. Indeed, one person who came to see it told our choir director they were so engrossed in the choir, they totally missed some of what happened on stage, like Richard Nicholson's suicide...
The lovely choir with choir director Maddy in the middle

We got fantastic write-ups including four stars from the Guardian and a full set of reviews are available here. The choir was a great group of friends, many of whom had sung in York Theatre Royal's previous community productions (the Mystery Plays and Blood and Chocolate). When not on stage, most of the choir are members of other choirs around the city, so there's a great culture of invitations: I can be sure that if I try out any choir in York, there'll be someone I know! We'll be reconvening next year for the Mystery Plays, to be held next May in the Minster for Corpus Christi.