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Bonn Players prepare for their next production

The show must go on : Bonn Players rehearse whole-heartedly for double-bill

The Bonn Players are steadfastly preparing for their next production, hoping against hope that they will be able to perform in front of an audience from 10 to 14 November in the Brotfabrik, as planned.

The first piece “Ruby and Millie & The Old Chemical Plant”, by Tara Meddaugh, is short but very sweet. It comes from a series of seven vignettes “The Victory garden Plays”, chronicling people’s journeys from childhood during WW2, to the 1990s, reflecting on their new realities of love, growth, life and death.

Ruby and Millie tended a plot in their community’s Victory Garden in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York State during World War 2. Ruby, the younger sister, worried back then that her failing rooftop garden was an omen of misfortune for their father’s return from a prisoner of war camp.

Years later, Ruby and Millie are still tending their plot together in the community garden, and the audience ‘trespasses’ into a brief moment when the two sisters must now come to terms with their own ‘new’ realities of empowerment, guilt, connection and love.

Christina Sauer is directing Katie Jordans and Sue Ferrow in this delightful play, with two of the Bonn Players' youngest members Elisabeth Eyre and Sierra Douglas making their debut in a recorded, short piece.

Our second one-act play “Sharks in the Custard”, by Tony Layton, by arrangement with Stagescripts Ltd, deals with cleaning ladies from the Municipal Art Gallery.

They enjoy their work, as not only does it provide them with an escape from the mundane reality of their lives outside the marble halls, but they have grown to love and appreciate the objects in their care, although certain aspects of avant-garde art do worry them. Rumours of government cutbacks threaten to upset their cosy regime.

However, in the face of adversity, they come up with a solution that not only secures their futures and helps to save the gallery, but also ensures that their lives will never be quite the same again.

Kathleen Schroers is directing Gina Kelly, Tracy Tollmann, Devon Putnam, John Kluempers, Christopher Nott-Held, Peter Ferrow, and Munira Abbas in this comedic play, and, let’s face it – we all need a good laugh in these challenging times!

Kathleen’s job has been made doubly difficult by having to take social distancing requirements into consideration when blocking the scenes, as the actors’ every move has been carefully choreographed to ensure that the requisite 1.5 meter distance is maintained throughout.

With numbers of reported Covid-19 cases climbing beyond accepted limits, the city of Bonn has recently imposed further restrictions, which translates into a total of five people allowed on stage at any one time without masks.

This is fortunate, as the Bonn Players’ double bill has only two people cast for the first short one-act play, and a total of seven actors for the second, longer, one-act play with one very short scene having six actors on stage at the same time, but where two of these will be wearing masks.

The fact that the potential audience has now been reduced to 50 is less fortunate but still better than nothing and, as the Bonn Players hope, won't reduce still further.

Back in the summer when numbers were low and a second wave was predicted for the colder, winter months, The Bonn Player’s Committee took the view that the show must go on.

Not to lose momentum and Covid-19 restrictions permitting.to continue doing what they all love; namely, acting and preparing a top-notch production come what may.

At the end of the day, what would they have lost if the worst-case scenario – total lockdown – came to pass? Everybody who is involved at the Bonn Players is doing so because they all love all things theatre and the actual performing is just one aspect of why they are all here.

The Bonn Players would like to reassure the audience that they are taking every measure to ensure their safety, as we all learn to live with this virus, while still living our lives to the extent possible.

The Bonn Players are working closely with strong partners at The Brotfabrik, in this respect, and are stringently adhering to a Covid plan, which is available on their website in English.

The theatre group also wishes to remain relevant and for the audiences not to lose sight of the Bonn Players and the value they believe they add to the multi-cultural life that is Bonn.

With this in mind, they are struggling financially this year, as they were unable to perform their spring production, and are largely reliant upon ticket sales to fund their activities, with no recourse to financial support or funding from the local government and continuing to pay for standing monthly charges.

Using the old adage that necessity is the mother of invention, they are identifying novel ways of adapting to the new normal and finding new sources of income.

They are working closely with their partners at The Brotfabrik, on an initiative they are especially proud of, to develop a digital solution in the form of high-quality recordings of their November and future performances, which would then be available, for a fee, to stream.

This will also be a first for The Brotfabrik, who are keen to enhance their skills in this direction, so as to open up their services to those currently unable to visit the theatre, such as residents in old people’s homes.

(Mareike Graepel)