Weekly catch up and plans for the future

This week group members have been mainly: watching Christmas DVDs; helping their partner move; being frustrated by moving home and baking lemon and walnut cake (it’s a  thing); vexed with their optician; starting a new job in which they have encountered ghosts; stress at work; been furloughed; had night mares involving Ross Kemp; pulling their back; having post work piss up via Zoom; enjoying a new job role, and  pleased with Trump being voted out and an Archers character coming out as bi.

Our discussion them turned to the future, planning events for the Christmas Party (which will be on Zoom, natch) and how we will organise elections for our January AGM.

Foiled (Guy Fawkes Night) Plots

We had planned on reading some inspiring speeches on Thursday (to tie in with the times), but our own chat got in the way, and carried on for way longer than the usual hour. However, it’s important now, more than ever that we check in on each others mental health. As Bob Hoskins said, “It’s good to talk”!  We wound up leaving the speeches to Malcolm X and caught up (hopefully we will do the planned activity another time).

Members variously:

  • Had met their godson, been on a covid-walk, had a virtual boogie at a Sweat night via Twitch and has an un-refundable radiator.
  • Have recovered from a recent bout of feeling ill, been to Blackpool and has de-Halloweened their flat.
  • Have been mainly working and has been given cloak and dagger / spy movie style instructions for an appointment at the QE.
  • Were on a tourism tip, and returned (briefly) to the Coffin Works and visited a Van Gogh experience.
  • Have had a long week, with new hours combined with a return to university (with recycled lectures) and relegated to tambourines.
  • Have been getting rid of stuff in the house and not getting rid of wildlife in the garden.
  • Have has been meeting previously unmet (in person) colleagues and performing virtual waves to a Covid-co-worker.
  • Fell foul of a fake that he was going to be furloughed, bus is likely to get a new job next week.
  • Did a Halloween run from Warstone Lane and has been appreciating the decorations in his neighbourhood.

And someone mentioned thongs.

And now for something completely different

Simon’s report on this weeks’ meeting:

“This week was rather a contrast to the previous meeting. Perhaps saying we went from the sublime to the ridiculous would be going too far but….

We started with the usual catch-up while we waited for our esteemed secretary to arrive – including a discussion of interior lighting (and tales of exploding candles) with the addition of an IT lesson – just when we thought that there was nothing new technologically George introduced some people to the joys of being able to WhatsApp from the web. 

Once Dean joined us he turned quizmaster for a Halloween quiz that ranged from cinema to European folklore, by way of Día de los Muertos, the Addams family’s butler and of course the Scottish play! Al proved to be the champion of this Spooktacular (though bonus points to Sarah and George for illustrating their score sheets with ghosts).

After the quiz we chatted about horror movies and that fortunately on zoom you can see behind you – though that didn’t take account of the horror of someone (or something) coming through the screen! Luckily (or perhaps sadly given the lack of human contact) that didn’t happen this evening.

We were then treated to innuendo from Al (he protested his innocence but he clearly knows his audience) and then a live musical performance from Sam on the keyboard – perhaps not quite operatic but entertaining none the less. Although many of us were appalled at the appearance of a very early Christmas tree behind him!

To return to Shakespeare “When shall we (hopefully more than) three meet again”? Well the current hurley-burley might not be done by next week but we’ll be getting together on zoom for sure! See you there for more fun, Acting Out style “

Acting Out: the Laramie Project

Guest blog by Al:

It was great to see people again after a week away and we spent the first part of the meeting catching up as usual, unfortunately we lost a few members at that point as their meals were ready – apparently duck legs take an hour and half to cook – who knew?!

[Somebody’s dinner]

Chris led the remainder of the group in the preparing and Zoom performing of some short monologues from the Laramie Project – a play about the homophobic murder of Matthew Shepard in America in the 1990s. It was powerful stuff and I for one found performing my piece incredibly emotional. Whilst that might not sound like the ‘fun’ we usually have at Acting Out and not light relief during a pandemic, for me it was equally valuable. Such pieces help us to explore painful emotions and I found it ultimately moving and exhilarating. Drama is such a good way to do this and ultimately can be a real boon four our mental health; as long, of course, that this is done in a safe way. A huge thank you to the small group who remained for this – we checked out with each other all the way through and the trust we have as a group made this, for me, a deeply positive experience. A real strength of Acting Out that we can do this.

We ended the session on a lighter note and I am left with the image of Chris’s flaccid candle – you had to be there!

The Book Group

It’s that time of year when our conversation turns to who has had to have the heating on yet, electric blanket anecdotes and Halloween decorations.  People have mainly been having a demanding time at work, listening to anti-smoking audio books, visiting parents and pubs before restrictions prevent them.

We then recorded an up-to-the-minute piece about a diverse Zoom-based book group who can’t help but going off topic to vent about COVID (and The Archers). You can listen to it in the link below!

An offal-ly good time

We kicked off with a catch up and news: Chystal Scott-Ballz will be performing a drag show on 21st December. Some were planning trips to Shropshire in a newly MOT passed motor, and feasting on cherry and marzipan cake, whilst others were enduring a 1000 year long week but accessing a new American therapist, applying for jobs, planning to visit a Van Gogh expo.  One member turned up but was silent due to internet issues and there were a lot of offal jokes regarding plans to cook knocked down lamb’s hearts.

The offending offal is shown below, before and after style:

The offending offal – 63p, how could I leave it in Tescos?
Dinner!!

We then had another reading of Disappearing Britain, Sarah Spilsbury’s script about, well, various parts of Britain disappearing, which was deemed “fun” – which is what Acting Out is all about!

One fun night, Two Ronnies, Three sketches but no Four Candles

This week Hayley was guest host, but before we attacked her activities we had the weekly catch up.  People have been at work, getting new jobs, doing up bathrooms and installing heating in sheds (It was established that shed envy is a THING; the jealousy is REAL!) running challenges and spending days off filling a skip.

We also saw the welcome return of Matt, who is already prepping for Halloween and whose kitchen bears the sign “Dracula’s Cavern: Fresh Blood Daily”!

We then split into groups to prepare performances of three Two Ronnie’s sketches (“Find The Lady”, “High Nigh” and “Husband Swapping”). They were very much “of their time” but still very funny, although some relied on physical humour that was hard to replicate via the medium that is Zoom.

A timely tribute, as Ronnie Barker died on 3rd October 2005 (what he would have made of our performances is anyone’s guess).  So in the meanwhile, it’s good night from me and good night from him…

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Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans / Omnino juris!

Despite host Haina having lined up an activity for this weeks meeting, we got so busy catching up that we didn’t have time for it, but will have it to look forward to on another occasion!

Variously we have been: welcoming Autumn; going on public transport for the first time to the Lickey Hills; pub visits, pizza and karaoke with friends and the unrelated acquisition of a new chair that performs stunts; deciding that problems at work will make great examples in an interview; problems with track and trace apps; caring responsibilities and planning to purchase a penthouse.

We also discussed plans for a virtual Christmas party and cleared up a query about a Google Translation from Latin.  Omnino juris = “All is correct”! See, you’ve learnt something!

Want to know what “glegsy” means? Well, read on!

This week’s new word is “glegsy”, which means to wear glasses, which the first few members to arrive to the weekly catch up were. Workwise people have been seeing teams in person in parks, applying for jobs, getting promotions and taking time off. Extra curricular activities included sighting starlings, releasing hedgehogs, the health kick hell of lack lustre lentil curls and rehearsing monologues about midgets in cemeteries. You can’t say we’re not a diverse bunch!

We then read some double headers (two person pieces) selected by Haina. The meeting was a good one, and as ever, we had fun because ACTING OUT IS FUN!