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Silchester Players

At the time of writing, “The Litter Picker” has been recorded and is in the process of being edited ready for broadcast on HHCR Basingstoke’s Community Radio (www.hhcr.org.uk) on Tuesday 29 September just after 1.pm.

After the broadcast we hope to include the recording on our website. Please log on to www.silchsterplayers.org. early in October.

Performing for radio outdoors, under socially distanced conditions, presented new challenges. We set aside Monday 24th August for rehearsals, discovering that although the actors could read from their scripts, it was still necessary for the director to indicate the right moments for special emphasis, pauses or a change in tone of voice. All of this is vitally important when you are reliant solely on sound to create convincing images in the minds of listeners.

The planned recording date was Tuesday 25th August. We could not have chosen worse! That was the day of heavy rain and very strong winds with gusts of up to 50 mph, making it impossible to record outdoors. Fortunately we held the following day, Wednesday 26th August, in reserve when there were far more favourable conditions.

We set up two garden gazebos to cover both equipment and actors. This turned out to have been prudent as, for a few minutes, we experienced a spell of light drizzle. The actors kept at least 1.5 m away from the microphone, from each other, from the director and from the technical crew. Our technicians did three ‘takes’ to give them plenty of material to go into the editing process. This was just as well as at one point, at a crucial moment, a chainsaw started up in the distance!

Some very catchy original music, excellently capturing the atmosphere of the play, has been composed by our musical expert, Tony Oliver, and will be added to the recording track together with some very atmospheric sound effects. All in all, we are confident that, despite less than ideal conditions, we have produced a first rate radio play.

Silchester Players ready for a socially distanced recording of ‘The Litter Picker’

Our committee met by Zoom as scheduled on 2nd September when we discussed whether, with the easing of restrictions, we could again stage a performance in Silchester village hall, possibly with a limited cast. In that event the audience would also be limited and would have to observe social distancing. However there would be huge practical difficulties, particularly as access to the hall is narrow. Since then further restrictions on gathering have been imposed, making meeting for rehearsals almost impossible. Reluctantly, we have concluded that it will be impossible to stage anything in 2020 and sadly our traditional pantomime scheduled for January 2021 cannot go ahead.

However there will be some thespian activity during the autumn. On the evening of 29th September we have a Zoom meeting for the entire company when we will read a pantomime script. This is an experiment to decide whether it will be possible to perform and record a pantomime using this medium. Then on Saturday 31st October we will be holding another Zoom social evening taking the form of a Halloween quiz.

Despite the challenges we are determined to keep our skills alive. If you wish to participate please contact us via our website.