Friday, 11 June 2010

Crashes and bangs

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Quick blog post today to remind myself to do it more regularly.

Lovely presentation yesterday at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds on the famous Mr McCready's four-day visit to the theatre back in 1826. There were tiny scenes throughout capturing the goings on at the theatre (he was rather forthright on the subject of provincial acting, but didn't object to trousering the profits from the plays), and also a talk on special effects, Georgian style.

This is a reproduction wind machine - a beautiful thing made of wood and canvas. When I turned the handle it sounded rather like a sick banshee, but in the hands of a professional it produced everything from a gentle zephyr to a full-blown storm. There was also a thunder sheet. Interestingly, the term "stealing my thunder" came from an actor whose own tempestuous play folded, was replaced by Macbeth complete with storm scene, and the actor complained very loudly that the Scottish play had - quite literally - stolen his thunder.

And this is a star-trap for those beloved sudden appearances. Or occasionally not - they were famed for often being real star traps, with the actor being pinioned firmly around their middle!

13 comments:

Kate Hardy said...

Jan, you really do go to some interesting talks! (And you've given me such a lightbulb. One that means I might have to drag you off to lunch and a research thingy...)

Jan Jones said...

Oh well, if it's in the interests of research...

Love to, hon.

Jane Writes Romance said...

I hope you remember to 'do it more regularly', Jan! ;)

Shirley Wells said...

Fascinating. You gave me a lightbulb too.

So that's where 'stealing my thunder' came from. I had no idea.

liz fenwick said...

I love star trap :-)

lx

Lesley Cookman said...

Star Trap was the name of one of Simon Brett's Charles Paris books. (I might have to go on Mastermind about them.) We actually made one in the stage of our theatre, then it was banned by elf'n'safety. Would have loved to have gone to that talk.

Debs said...

How interesting. I love the idea of appearing through one of those star traps, though I'm not exactly sure when that could ever happen?

Jan Jones said...

Transformation scene, obviously, Debs. When the bent old woman in the forest disappears and YOU spring out as the beautiful fairy godmother!

Jan Jones said...

That's crazy, Lesley. Would it have been okay if your carpenter had got EU certificates or something?

Jan Jones said...

Jane - I'm trying!
Shirley - always glad to be of assistance!
Liz - it's great, isn't it?

montyandrosie said...

Fascinating, Jan! Both the stealing of thunder thing and the star trap.

I'm always amazed at what I don't know.

Liz Harris said...

How lovely to live in an area where there is so much to go to in order to learn more about different aspects of history - it must make historical ressearch come alive.

Liz X

Liz Harris said...

I do know how to spell RESEARCH. The moral - check everything before you send it!

Liz X