‘God Bless The Understudy …’ by Ms Paige Turner

11/02/2022 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘God Bless the Understudy …’ by Ms Paige Turner
Last weekend we took the plunge and saw ‘The Jersey Boys’ for the sixteenth time. There had been a long gap. The tickets were a Christmas 2020 present for Miss Trial and Master Mind. It was our first venture out into the indoor theatre for two years. We wore medical masks for the whole journey and performance.
‘In the old days’ signs would go up in the foyer when an understudy had been thrown into the den. ‘In the old, old days’, there would be a Tannoyed announcement before curtain up when the audience would audibly groan in earshot of the poor understudy.
Having understudied several leading roles at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre for two seasons I have an affinity with The Understudy. I was relieved when the actress in question for the night showed up, as I was never rehearsed. I knew the lines – but rehearsals for understudies strangely came in the last week of the season which seemed somewhat redundant.
These days, I believe understudies are called ‘covers’. And I believe they have rehearsals. It’s a good job that they do, as last weekend’s performance had half the cast covering, on account of Covid. There was no announcement, no programme note and no foyer sign so I didn’t know we were watching covers until Miss Trial googled.
They were all terrific. I am so pleased The Understudy is having their day. I am also pleased that Mister Justin Case and I have just tested negative on flow.
The Moral: what the eye doesn’t see the heart does not grieve over and wear your medical mask in crowded arenas.
You can buy my psychological thriller novel ‘Shakespeare’s Clock’ from my publisher Cranthorpe Millner, all major bookstores and Amazon.
And the anthology ‘When This Is All Over …’ for the Rennie Grove Hospice can be purchased on Amazon.

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