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!

Poetry please!

This week, the blog comes from Chris (who also facilitated the session):

“The meeting began with our usual roundup of how everyone’s week had gone. Some had had a long overdue week off, some had ventured into town for the first time since March. One person had had to deal with snakes and overgrown bushes. And we were all introduced to the adorable Harry the hedgehog.

Chris had been a bit cagey about the plan for the meeting, but he sent round a selection of poems, with the idea we’d split into groups and rehearse and perform them for each other. If technology allowed, we’d record them. 

There were three groups : one performed “Want”, by Joan Larkin. A very moving piece, surprisingly suited for the times. Another group tried choral speaking, doing “we two boys together clinging”, from Walt Whitman. We finished with “(I married a) Monster from outer space” by the great John Cooper Clarke. Fingers crossed it looks like the technology was smiling on us, and we have the recordings. 

Everyone agreed that it felt a bit like actually performing again.”

Fish, Chips, Fun – Disappearing Britain and dodgy accents

This week, the blog was taken care of by Dean:

At the time of writing this our weekly Acting Out Zoom meeting just came to a close and while it’s fresh in my head I may as well get it down on paper!

Talking about getting things down on paper this evening’s session was led by one of esteemed writers, Sarah Spilsbury, who supplied yet another script to add to her growing back catalogue!

Having been late to the meeting due to chowing down on my chips I joined part way through the read-through of “Disappearing Britain”, which seemed like a satirical side swipe at the strange and unusual times we are living in. In typical Acting Out style it was a laugh a minute and dodgy accents a-plenty!

Everyone seemed in jovial spirits despite our distance and it’s great just once a week to see everyone’s faces and no matter what kind of week you’ve had those friendly faces can lift your spirits – after all that’s what we’re about!

What we did – and WhoDunnit?

This week, the blog comes from Chris P, who had the following to report:

“Last week during our Zoom meeting following a wee catch-up we read through a good chunk of Sarah Spilsbury’s Murder Mystery script to much praise! We discussed the possibility of recording and editing an enactment via zoom/alternative software and publishing it as a podcast and/or through sound cloud.”

Thinking About the Future

This week, the guest blogger was Al, who had the following to report:

“After the catch up to share how our week’s are all going this week we focused on where next for the group given that we can’t meet up in our usual way and probably won’t be able to for some time. It’s Acting Out so there were plenty of ideas for producing some drama pieces as radio/Zoom plays and getting these online, watch this space. Socially we discussed a park meet up and the continuation of Zoom as a social space and allowing people to just come for a catch up with friends separate to any specific activity we may be doing that week; members really benefit from this contact and it’s important we continue to provide a space that can support each other through these tough times.”