Monday, June 13, 2005

Where's Bobby?

I've always been interested in theatre: watching it, or doing it, or backstaging it. Seven or eight years ago, Dubai Drama Group was pretty much the beginning and end of our social life. Betterarf, who is a stunningly brilliant actress, would be in every other show. Myself, who are a pretty damn good set designer and (if necessary) a good painter, would design sets for three out of four shows a year.

Thrice, I think, the director of whatever show was desperate for a part to be filled, enticed me to tread the boards. Now here's the thing. I lurve treading them thar boards. Could do it all day long. But if you expect me to act or remember any lines, you've got the wrong guy. Just can't do it.

I was once cast as the murderer in the Ag Christie play 'Black Coffee'. My character did the murder by slinging some poison pills into the coffee of his employer. There was a lot riding on this - the DDG were raffling a TV for anyone who could spot whodunnit at the interval of the show. One night, I completely forgot to dump the pills in the coffee. Oops. Don't think anyone won the telly that night.

I don't know if anyone noticed that cock-up, but plenty of folk spotted the next one. I was cast in the role of Bobby in the play 'The Visit'. Bobby is the lawyer/slave of a rich heiress who decides to visit the town of her birth. I'm not on stage much, and spend a lot of time out back. There is one very short scene where the heiress calls for Bobby. Bobby does not come, he is deeply engrossed in conversation with someone (Stephen Owen) out back about the possibilities of multimedia and the Interweb. "Where's BOBBY???". The heiress is improvising. Bobby hears this, but by the time he has clambered over the assorted bodies out back to get to the stage it is too late.

A few weeks later, I am stopped at traffic lights on Bank Street. A car pulls up beside me 'Where's Bobby?' asks the driver of the car. He is one of the cast of the show. Later, I'm in a mall, someone recognises me "Where's Bobby". In a crowded bar, across the room someone shouts "BobbbEEEE!". And so on, for quite a while. Right until last month when Deepak Morris who was in the show and subsequently moved back to India posted some comments. Oh I lurve being famous!