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Published: October 21st 2006
No - not all to see me
My acting career has commenced. Yes - that is right - I got my first acting gig this week, paid and everything!!!
A friend of mine is working for the musical Spamalot - which is based on the Monty Python and the Holy Grail film. Now, if you have not seen the movie, what I am saying may not mean that much to you, but that is your fault for being uncultured.
Anyway - the musical had its opening night in London this week with all the bells and whistles - obviously a showing of the musical, plus a big after party.
So I got offered the opportunity to be part of the ‘bells and whistles’ part of the opening.
As a quick summary - the film/musical is based on King Arthur’s search for the Holy Grail (bet you would never have guessed that from the title). It opens with Arthur ‘riding’ with his faithful sidekick Patsy searching for knights to form the knights of the round table at Camelot. Except, there is no horse. (The Pythons decided on a joke where the characters would pretend to ride horses while their porters (in Arthur’s case, Patsy) banged
but no make-up yet
coconut shells together to sound like horse hooves, an in-joke to how BBC radio shows were made at the time.) Once assembled, the knights are given a quest by God to find the Holy Grail. They don’t find it - but there are lots of funny bits in the quest.
As a reminder for those of you that have seen it: French Soldier (with an outrageous French accent): I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries. Sir Galahad: Is there someone else up there we can talk to?
French Soldier: No, now go away or I shall taunt you a second time. King Arthur: (after Arthur's cut off both of the Black Knight's arms) Look, you stupid Bastard. You've got no arms left.
Black Knight: Yes I have.
King Arthur: *Look*!
Black Knight: It's just a flesh wound. Cleric: And the Lord spake, saying, "...then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting
shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Bring out your dead. .... But I'm not dead yet.
And, of course, who can forget the Knights who say 'Ni'?
Look, if you have not seen it - and don't find the above funny, don't blame me if it is funnier when John Cleese and co say it....
Here is a picture with Arthur, Patsy and the Black Knight in the movie, so you can see the character mine was based on.
As the after party was not at the same venue as the show, but about a 10 minute walk away, the organizers wanted a way to get the guests from the show to the party. This is where I came in. They decided to set up a ‘Patsy Rank’ where a bunch of ‘Patsys’ would be lined up (in costume of course and complete with coconuts) to escort the guests to the party. That is right - it was my job to dress up as a vagrant, in rags and complete with make-up: fake dirt, boils and all
(but no pack on back) - pretending to ‘trot’ through the streets of London’s West End, banging two coconut halves together and escort guests to the party.
It is more tiring than you think…. especially by the third or fourth trip - and taking into account that fact that we had to ‘trot’ back as well, even though we weren’t escorting the guests (you know, because they would see us on the way back).
Also managed to get my bro a gig, as a monk. His job (much easier) was to stand at one of the corners with a sign saying ‘Grail Sale’ and directing guests who did not take a ‘Patsy’ to the party.
Some of my other mates got to be 'seat fillers' - that means they got to see the show in place of people who did not show up so there were no vacant seats in the theatre. Obviously, that is an easier job - but nowhere near as funny.
Seriously, it is one of the more hilarious things I have done in my life. Chatted to the guests on the way (I had been lucky enough to get a free ticket
to a matinee preview of the musical the week before, so had seen the show (the benefits of unemployment)) and generally behaved ridiculously. Obviously, lots of random people on the street were also interested - some even ‘trotted’ along next to me for a while.
AND I was able to get into the party afterwards (dressed normally) so that was pretty cool. I am not sure if the highlight of that was the free drinks or the castle they had built of tins of Spam. Just kidding, obviously the highlight was the drinks.
Have not yet been plucked from obscurity to a fab role on the stage/silver screen - but am interviewing agents just in case.
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