a few seconds of fame

Published by: mike on 14th Apr 2018 | View all blogs by mike


    Yesterday I had my few minutes of fame.  This was no choice of mine and events occurred at random.   I had attended a play in which the theater had been turned into a TV quiz show.  We, the audience, doubled as the audience of this show.

     That morning, I turned up at the theater and the usher at the kiosk allotted me a seat for the evening’s performance.  It was a random choice of a seat with a restricted view.

      My appearance at the theater on that day was a random choice too. I had intended to go to the opening night, but there had been a gas leak in the road occupied by the theater. It had been closed for that evening. The next day the road was still closed.  My attendance was postponed till yesterday.

      In the evening, I took my seat at the theatre, and found I was in a box to the side of the  stage.   An usher then spoke to me and said that I should leave the seat to my immediate right severely alone.  It was to be used an actor.  

     It transpired that this actor was the wife of the hero of the play who is a contestant in the game show.  He  is later prosecuted for attempting to defraud the show for their million pound prize.

  I have absolutely no idea why his wife should have been in the audience next to me.

    There were two video cameras on the stage and a screen to the rear of the backdrop, unto which images were projected.

    When a video camera was pointed at the wife in the box, I found that my face was also projected onto the screen at the rear of the stage.

    At the conclusion of the play, I left by an exit which had been opened into a side street. On the pavement, one of the audience was being slowly lowered into a wheelchair.  I waited in the doorway to prevent the people behind me pushing us all  into the wheelchair.  

    The gentleman turned to me and said, “Ah!  You were the face on the screen!’” 

     In that second my moment of fame occurred.

     We laughed and I proceeded on my way home.


   This sort of dramatic presentation is not new to me.  About thirty years ago, I went to theatrical evening classes and my ideas were met with rather blank incomprehension.  I remember suggesting that Hamlet should be staged around the National Theatre building and not in the theater itself - though one could stage the play within the play in one of the auditoriums.   I  saw a play there a few weeks ago in which two of the actors played a scene by the river in front of the theater.   The actors had left the stage and their images were projected on a screen at the rear of the stage.  This stage  represented a TV news programme.   Why two people going for a walk by the river  - to be on their own - should be accompanied by a video camera, does rather escape me.  The same couple bonked on the stage in a restaurant which was part of the stage set, The director is Dutch which might explain things.   It was all great fun and quite a whiz round the topic of internetology.

  As for  my suggestion of taking the band out of the orchestra pit and putting it on the stage all that time ago!   Well!  Total  disbelief!   It is now difficult to see a play where there is not a band on the stage.  I was thirty years in advance!


  The view from the box was restricted, in that the left wing of the stage was not in view and, occasionally, an actor was out of my site line. But I could see and hear everything very clearly.  




  • L.
    by L. 3 months ago
    Nice, my friend attended that play as well and she got questioned too. My only theatre fame was when I went to see Network at the National Theatre with Bryan Cranston. Part of the stage was set up as a restaurant and I was part of the people eating on stage. It was an amazing experience watching a play from the stage (plus the food was amazing).
  • Athelstone
    by Athelstone 3 months ago
    Ah, that was "Quiz". I wanted to see that in Chichester before it moved to London but forgot all about it. Then I heard a review on Radio 4 and tried to book again but it was sold out (probably because of the review).
  • Squidge
    by Squidge 3 months ago
    Oh, I've heard about that play - isn't it the one based on the 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire' cheats?

    My one second of fame (well, might have lasted a bit longer, don't know how long the display was up for) was that the back of my head (whilst inside an isolator, testing vials for microbes) was featured in a promo pic in our local museum. Doubt anyone recognised me though...
  • mike
    by mike 3 months ago
    It was based on Who want a Millionaire. I did not want to do a spoiler. It was a good evening out.
    I had a slight misgiving about the play. In the box to my right, was a very young American whom, it transpired was a drama student. Would an impersonation of Chris Tarrent have meant much to him? A few of the characters were not delivering dialogue but a history of ITV and games shows. Come to that, an impersonation of Larry Greyson might have passed him too.
    So you are near Chichester. A member of the literary branch of my family lives there. It is a different world to the rest of us. If I had been published or worked for the BBC, I might have been considered worthy. I have a DVD of a Chichester production of a Checkov play - I think from the seventies. It has a staller cast and the same production could be staged today.
    L.Z Network was the other play I mentioned. I wanted to see the production and could only get a standing seat for nearly the last show. You get a totally different view of a play seen from above, as it were.
    I have booked for the first Globe production on their main stage. It is Hamlet on Wednesday 25 April. It is only a £5 standing in the pit, but even the Globe can book up now, I asked once and was told that they do try and fit everybody in, but it is a matter of health and safety. I usually go there early and queue at the entrance by the river. This is if you want to be near the stage.
  • RichardB
    by RichardB 3 months ago
    Back of the head, Squidge? I can beat that.

    At the last bus garage I worked at, one of the routes - not my regular one, but I drove it occasionally - terminated outside a prison. Well, one day my daughter was watching a TV documentary in which someone was filmed being discharged from that prison and getting on a bus. 'You were driving the bus,' she told me. 'I couldn't see your face but I recognised your watch.'
  • mike
    by mike 3 months ago
    Dear Athelstone,
    The theatre at Chichester does offer a good selection of plays. The National Theatre in London would be the comparable venue. The price of preview seats at Chichester is about half that of the NT. The face value of a stall seat at the NT is about £75 but you can get cheaper seats and sometimes the seats are discounted on the day. Most of the shows in London are American. Most of the shows in Chichester are English! ‘The King and I’ is coming to London later in the year and I suspect the production is already fully booked. I doubt if the West End does reflect England all that much. The most sought after seats are for Harry Potter but Hamilton - an American musical - must come second. A revival of Chicago has just opened and a musical about Tina Turner.
    The relation in Chichester is a cousin. She is very Eng Lit and extremely literate. ‘Well versed in the classics’ is mild. She and her husband ran weekend arts classes for kids from their house. I think it is far more pleasant to live in Chichester than London.
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