Monday, 1 September 2008

Rain Stopped Play

Firstly I have to fess up that I borrowed the heading for this post from one of Louise's emails!

The salad is made, the rucksack is packed, the pop up tent is, well, just sitting in the hallway in a no doubt highly coiled state, the car battery is charged (after a visit from Greengflag and 40 minutes aimless driving around Camberwell and Dulwich) and we are ready for some culture!

We pick up Louise on the way to Dulwich village - at least I believe the apparition in bright orange waterproof gear is Louise! She emerges from her house with the words "Not looking bad is it?" as she peers up at the steely grey sky. At this point you have to remember that Louise originates from Aberdeen and spends a good deal of her time in the Arctic. She is also undertaking an Open University Course on understanding the weather and so is able to assure us that the 3 hour forecast from the Met Office is not looking too bad.

We drive to the Crown and Geyhound in Dulwich Village where we are soon joined by Lucy who has come on her bicycle with a golf umbrella somehow attached. She also is in full wet weather gear. After a swift pint, during which I only just manage to avoid a major faux pas by enquiring whether Lucy has a bread maker (she was in fact up at 6am hand making the bread!), we head off to the park.

It is by now around 7pm although the level of light would lead you to believe it was later - maybe November. We find the "stage" (really just a platform with some steel poles from which electrical cables are swagged with a series of lightbulbs attached). If you are having difficulty envisaging this, find a 10 year old and ask them to "draw something that would be really dangerous in a thunder storm".

Unperturbed, we settle ourselves down on some rugs and set out the food. The salad is well received and Lucy's bread is just fantastic - banish all thoughts of breadmakers. She has made granary rolls which are glazed with some poppy seeds. With these she has brought some lovely Stilton and Cheddar cheeses to which I add some Gorwedd Caerphilly that I had bought a week or so ago but not got round to using. Lucy has also brought some home grown radishes which are great with the hummus from the salad.

By now the play has started - as has a light drizzle. There are probably about 40 people in the audience and they all look like they are used to this outdoor entertainment lark. Not a tent in sight however but there looks to be plenty of room to pitch one should the need arise.

Within 15 minutes the need certainly arises and Bren unleashes the beast that is the pop up tent. I have to say it certainly does what it says on the tin and within seconds there is a dry haven erected at the back of the, now thinning out, audience.

We all crawl into the tent which meant we are now dry - yay. We have however failed to realise that heavy rain falling on a tent makes quite a din so, whilst we are dry and (at least three of us) can vaguely make out the actors through the downpour, we can hardly hear a word. 10 minutes later the second clap of thunder and flash of lightning leads to the performance being abandoned.

My worst fears on the popping down of the pop up tent are realised and any advantage it has afforded in keeping us dry is wiped out by the drenching we get trying to get the thing down. In the end we crumple it up as best we can, ram it into the boot and slam the boot down before it can escape. It is currently still fully erect and drying off in a spare bedroom at home!

Having packed things away we head back to Louise's for a delicious fruit salad of strawberry, nectarine and passion fruit with meringues and whipped cream. Louise is now trying to drum up support for a second visit to the play later in the week (heavy rain forecast all week). I find myself unable to attend for various reasons - not the least of which is the need to pop down a tent.


ingrid said...

Thanks for adding a comment to Dulwich OnView's post on A Winter's Tale. Sorry the rain disturbed the play and your dinner!

TonyM said...

Thanks Ingrid - hope they have better weather for the rest of the run - the actors were doing a fine job until the lightning!

ingrid said...

Did you see A Midsummer Nights Dream in the garden of Dulwich Picture Gallery earlier in the summer?

TonyM said...

No although I did go to see it at the Globe itself. This was my first experience of a touring production from the Globe - it was such a shame that the weather made it impossible for them.