Today began with a shopping list:
One backdrop stick, 3m long, metal or wood, ideally collapsible to a yak-sized piece
6 wooden sticks 1m each, for giant bubble wands
One backdrop, approx 7m by 3m, colourful and lightweight (yet not see through)
One baking tray or similar which makes a satisfying noise when clunked onto Petes head
2 Holdalls for the props and costumes, equal sized so as not to unbalance a yak
A tarp for backstage costume arrangements
Huge amounts of stationary and creative bits and bobs to assemble into school resource packs
This would be a daunting list for any afternoons work. Here, the concept of theatre in schools is hard enough to explain, never mind the prop requirements of giant bubble making, or the acoustic nature of baking trays, and the limitations of transport by yak.
The backdrop was probably the most satisfying item to sort out. We chose 6 lovely coloured fabrics, and some heavy trim for the bottom which looks great and helps it to hang well in the wind. We took it all to the tailors and they sewed together the strips to make one huge piece. After some arm waving and diagram drawing we managed to comminucate with eachother and they put aside the clothes they were making to put together the backdrop in just a few hours. They did a great job and we can’t wait to see how it looks on the framework.
Pete and Ben had an entertaining time testing out various plates and lids and trays in the hardware shop. Testing out on Petes head of course. I have absolutely no idea what the bemused owners thought we were doing, or what they thought the criteria was for our final choice!
By far the most challenging thing to find was the long pole. It bridges the gap between the 2 clothes rails, supporting the backdrop. It needs to be strong, light, and collapsible. We went from shop to shop, seeking long things for sale. We had no clear idea of what the final solution might look like, and the people we asked had no idea what we were asking for. We trudged around the market exploring various options from trekking poles and window opening sticks, to axe handles and mops. Eventually someone seemed to have an idea, drew us a map of town, and sent us in search of a Mr Ashish, who would, it was promised, sort us out….
Incredibly, they were right. Mr Ashish of Cedar Hardware might not have had a clue about touring theatre but he understood that we wanted a long metal stick and found one for us! It was sawn into 2 lengths and a slightly bigger connecting piece found to join them as and when needed. We had a cup of chai sitting in front of the shop whilst Pete applied Health and Safety to the raw jagged ends with a bit of sandpaper.
By now we were really shattered. Just a surreal amount of school resources to buy. We pretty much cleaned out both stationers in the market, scooping up all the good quality scissors, glittery card, nice crayons, sellotape, glue sticks and playdough that we could find. Pencils, reams of coloured paper and card, scrap books and staplers were stuffed into our new holdalls, which got heavier and heavier.
Finally done we headed home, the Malans clocking up their first tuk-tuk RTA en route. (all survived intact!).
We're totally knackered but every single thing is ticked off the list !
Boy is it ever beer o’clock…..
With love from The Yak Pack x