Or: But now that it's all over, you may as well know the truth!
Or: It's over now, the music of the night!
Or: This seems as good a time as not to look around and write.
(Okay, better start writing content before I fill it up with subtitles.)
It's impossible to do justice to the G&S Festival in blog posts. There is something here that just can't be captured in words. Why, for instance, do we:
* Clock up hundreds of kilometers walking up and down and in and out, here and there and roundabout, looking for things that back home we know we can easily find?
* Volunteer to help carry scenery and costumes for the pro shows, shows that we have no connection with other than seeing them from the gallery?
* Rehearse our own show at very long hours, to the exclusion of other activities that we would have greatly enjoyed doing?
* Bump in and dress rehearse a show all in one day, with no time to fix up mistakes?
* Perform before a thousand people, knowing full well that one of them is going to come up at the end and tell us exactly where we did a bad job?
* Immediately after bumping in and performing, go to the Festival Club and perform even more?
* Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
Why do we? Because it's the Festival! There's no adequate way to explain this, it's just something that has to be experienced. But we do have some shareable happy memories, and looking around me here in my room at High Peak Halls, I can see quite a few things that are worth mentioning.
Claiming the attention right off is Steph's trophy for Best Female Voice. Since she already left, Ron Pidcock (as President) accepted it on her behalf, and we're couriering it home in our luggage. The base of the trophy has plates engraved with the names and shows of previous winners, including the mention that G&S Opera Victoria won this same award last time we came here (hi Lynlee!). I wonder what will be done in a few years' time, when the plate fills up.
The cup is sitting on top of two copies of the new Beauty Stone score. I've hardly had a chance to read through it properly, but I also haven't had a chance to tinkle it out on a piano so it's probably going to wait till we're home and with Casey again. (Why two copies? Well, we have a flautist at home too, and I think she and I might end up dueting... anyway, I wanted to be safe.)
Next to them is a tall pile of DVDs. Apart from a few that I'm couriering home for people, they're all ours. We only get DVDs of the really outstandingly awesome shows, so if you think that my reviews are aimed at mediocrity, let this adjust your opinion of my opinion of the shows.
Also sitting here is the full programme of the Opera House productions. We bought it at the very beginning of the Festival, and it has been through life my guide and monitor, allowing me to get everyone's names correct in my reviews (well, assuming the programme is itself correct - but nobody's yet complained). I don't go autograph-hunting, but i was talking with Simon Butteriss toward the end of the three weeks and he was signing a few people's programmes, so I asked him to sign mine too. :) This book was also instrumental in getting me to go to Scrivener's for the first time; I mightn't have made the time for that first visit if I hadn't seen their ad stating that they had a shelf dedicated to G&S. I'm so glad I went.
Under the programme are two framed certificates. The trophy cup is lent for one year and must be returned for next year's festival, but Steph gets a certificate to keep. Also, there's another one - to Michael and Chris Angelico, "in recognition of their contribution to the 2011 International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival". THAT is a trophy.
Speaking of trophies, this trip has been great for my IP trophy collection. But most people don't care about that.
Over in the corner, a collection of empty Thorntons boxes gives some idea of how much chocolate has been consumed here lately. It counts only the boxes that were emptied right here in this room, so add about as much again for the ones that went to rehearsal or performance and didn't come back. Yes, the chocolate definitely helps.
Sitting in a rough pile are my handwritten notes that become the show reviews. Michael's right that I try ever to be courteous to the mediocre, but I do try to say something about the superb in each production. Unfortunately it's not always easy to express myself adequately, without leaving myself open to the linguistic analysis that the Halls use. But these notes carry some extra, and rather subtle, information: if the comment is written tidily, there wasn't much happening on the stage; if it scrawls down the page in a horrid mess, then the stage had riveted my attention.
All this still does a poor job of capturing the "feel" of the festival, but meh, I just felt like writing something. So sue me. :)