A couple of weeks ago I was picking my daughter Lottie up from her dance class when I noticed there was a sign-up sheet for extras for the Ellen Kent Opera that was coming to town. Lottie was, of course, desperate to do it, and put her name down for La Bohème and Aida. They were also looking for adult extras for Aida. Her teacher, Jason, said it would be fun.
So it was that last Friday and Saturday evenings, I went to the theatre, got dressed as a slave, put on a wig and shuffled onto the stage, chained to Lottie, who was my daughter in Aida as well as in real life. There was, inevitably, a lot of hanging around backstage, and I enjoyed that because it was so very different from anything I normally do. I liked the waiting in the corridor before we went on, listening to the trumpet playing that famous March (which has been my ear worm EVER SINCE and which could feel free to go away any time it liked). The slaves arrived on the stage, knelt down, raised our arms up, then put them down again, raised them up again, stood up, got freed and exited stage left.
The second time round my partner Craig was in the audience, and I managed to catch his eye briefly, and he took these photos. It was a spectacular production with a huge cast, brilliant set, and a truly wonderful soprano, Olga Perrier.
The child extras were doing it because they are learning to dance and to perform. The adults were doing it because we thought it would be funny. And it was. I’d do it again tomorrow.