Saturday, October 30, 2004

Theatre in Dubai

Say what? Theatre in Dubai? No such fing.

Well, almost. One thing that Dubai has always lacked is a proper theatre putting on proper shows. There's been a bit of a visiting dinner theatre thing (British Airways Playhouse, organised by various Nimmo's), usually staged in inappropriate hotel ballrooms. And a once-thriving amateur outfit called Dubai Drama Group, which we were active members of until 2 or 3 years ago. Oh, and I have to mention Streetwise Fringe, or I'll get my head kicked in. Owned, operated, managed and whatever else by Dubai legend Phil Duquenoy (former magician and financial adviser), he brings out several pretty good shows a year.

A few months ago a proper theatre opened at Soukh Madinat Jumeirah, but they haven't staged any acting yet - we'll have to wait and see how that goes. And there is a theatre under construction as part of the Mall of the Emirates development - this is the brainchild of Brian Wilkie, actorr of this parish, and is intended to be a community resource for the various non-profit-making thespian associations around town.

Back to the story. We quit DDG for a number of reasons - first and foremost we were tired; the new home of the Group was a lot of hassle (from being able to build and paint sets in air-conditioned luxury at the British Council, we had to try doing the same thing out of doors, no a/c, no shade even); and we had moved to Jebel Ali, so getting to rehearsals, set-building etc was a bit difficult.

So I was surprised to get a phone call about 3 weeks ago from Cynthia, ex-secretary of the Group. She asked me if I wanted to play the dame in this year's panto. Now, you have to understand that I cannot act at all. I've been in a few shows, but basically I just play me. I had to decline, but I did offer to design the set. Cynthia sent me a script, I read it, and made a list of what settery was required. That's as far as I got - I couldn't do any more without meeting the director and finding out what his ideas were. I didn't actually do anything about organising that, and for the last few weeks have intended to call Cynthia and get it sorted. But hey, I've been working, blogging or asleep. So Cynthia called me today, I apologised profusely, and she said it's ok, the director had found someone else. Oh, that's OK then, I say. BUT, says Cynthia, the other guy has fallen through (seemed to think it was a paying gig, hahaha). Dang!

I'll be tootling along to a rehearsal tomorrow night, and I must say I am looking forward to it. I haven't seen most of the current members for a very long time.

Later luvvie!