Just another normal day…
“You’d better sit down,” I texted to my wife. “I have been asked to appear in a musical. Obviously I have accepted.”
“Sorry?” She texted back, every ready with the encouragement.
“Mack and Mabel at the YMCA.”
“What do they want you to do?”
“I’ll need to sing and dance (with others).” “Sing??Dance?? Are they mad?”
“I’m Charles Bauman in Mack & Mabel. You and Ben can come and watch.”
“I’m playing a middle-aged New York Jewish impresario.”
“Right. They’re clinically insane. You can’t sing and dance. You could try hiding in a chorus but even then you’d stick out like a sore thumb.”
Small wonder that my career on the stage was stillborn…
But my wife is 100 per cent correct. I can’t sing and I can’t dance. Hence my eagerness to appear in a musical.
“I don’t suppose you fancy doing it, do you?” Kathy the receptionist asked as I collected my post.
“Being in Mack and Mabel. Someone’s dropped out at the last minute. Tim’s desperate.”
“Love to. But I can’t sing and I can’t dance. Aren’t they sort of crucial for a musical?”
“Not for this role. Tim says all you have to do is shout at people…”
I could do that. Blimey, I could do that. Was that a star appearing on my office door? My name up in lights? And what were the chances of me ever being asked again? Nil. There was only one logical reply.
“Ask Tim to ring me. I might be able to help him out.”
And as you’ve seen, my beloved wasn’t impressed. Still, no matter.
I was collecting Ben from school. How many times had I helped him learn his lines? The Grumpy Innkeeper, Scrooge, public speaking… The list was endless. And now the boot was on the other foot. Or whatever the theatrical equivalent was.
“That’s awesome, dad. I’m really pleased for you. They couldn’t have chosen anyone better. You’ll be fantastic.”
Yep, there’s nothing like a nice fantasy to keep you warm as you drive up to school…
“Something’s happened, dad. I can tell by the smirk on your face.”
Too perceptive for his own good. “Nothing important. I’ve been asked to be in a musical, that’s all.”
“You’re too old for silly jokes, dad. Are you in trouble with mum?”
I patiently explained the situation to my youngest son. I would never get another chance. ‘Go for it,’ as I constantly told my children.
“So you’ve gone for it, dad?”
I nodded. He could have smiled. I could have lived with that. There was no need to snort his drink all over my car.
“You? In a musical?”
I won’t bore you with the rest of it. Suffice to say that Ben and his mother haven’t had so much fun since I put my back out playing Twister. They’re currently betting on a pulled hamstring in rehearsals and Charlie Bauman being in A&E for opening night.
There’s another problem. I have to speak in a New York accent. “You can do Welsh, dad. Why don’t you suggest to the director that your character’s just moved there from Wales?”
“Because he hasn’t.”
“You’ll have to watch Friends then.”
“But...” But nothing. Ben was right. Fifteen years telling my children that Friends was rubbish and now it was my only hope. I resigned myself to my fate and sat miserably on the sofa. Ben poked his head round the door.
“Cheer up, dad. We all have to suffer for our art…”