Secret Daddy(6)By: Lucy Wild
Halfway down the page was a paragraph covering the Scarton Amateur Dramatic Society with S.A.D.S printed next to it in brackets. It mentioned that they met up every Sunday and Wednesday at seven in the evening. The article discussed their last play, a performance of The Importance of Being Earnest. This was the group Nancy thought I should avoid?
Some little rebel in me had balked at being told not to join their group by her. I felt like I was back at school again. Whenever a teacher had told me not to do something, that was pretty much guaranteed to make me want to do it. The only lesson I ever behaved in was drama, or theatre studies to give it its proper name. I fell in love with acting when I was in primary school and the interest had never left me. Everything about it excited me, from writing my own plays when I was little, doing my best to force my friends to appear in them, to the day of my examination where I had an entire audience applauding little me as I grinned back at them and took a bow at the end of my one person version of A Streetcar Named Desire, a challenge if ever there was one. I still had the vest somewhere.
I looked at the article again. If I didn’t go along, would that interest die away? I’d been a big part of the drama group at home. Not that it was home anymore, of course. I had to give it a shot. I enjoyed it too much not to. Seeing that they would be meeting that evening at seven decided things for me. I was going to go along and see just how unfriendly they were.
They might be grumpy like my mysterious helper from the previous night but then at least I’d know. I couldn’t just take Nancy’s word for it, what kind of person would? After all, she’d told me she’d be leaving me the curtains and there was absolutely no sign of them anywhere in the house.
I spent the day exploring the town before returning home in time to get changed to go out to the drama group. I’d found the theatre during my travels, a slightly dilapidated but romantic enough looking Victorian building in the middle of town, surrounded by shops and cafes, posters of recent performances on the wall outside. My eye was drawn to one titled About Last Night. Someone had scrawled “Cancelled,” across it in black marker pen, the letters jagged as if they were furious when writing it.
That evening, I headed out in time to get to the theatre for seven. I found the door unlocked. Pushing it open, I heard the sound of voices further inside. At the end of the corridor was another door and I went through it, finding myself at the back of an auditorium. There was a group of people sitting in a circle on the stage, looking like an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, all of them on folding metal chairs.
“What I’m saying,” an elderly gent was shouting, “is that we should just give up on the idea and think of something else.”
“That’s a bit defeatist, isn’t it?” a middle aged woman replied, her head turning towards me as she did so. “Hello, dear, can we help?”
“Hi, is this the drama group?” I asked, walking down the aisle between the rows of seats.
“This is SADS,” the elderly gent replied. “Are you sad enough to join us?”
“I don’t know about that,” I said, stopping below the stage. “Do you have to be sad to act?”
“You do here, love.”
“Oh, stop it,” the woman said, pointing towards a set of steps at the side of the stage. “Come on up, dear and introduce yourself. We’re always glad of new members.”
As I walked up the steps, the woman fetched a chair from a pile at the edge of the stage. “Shuffle up, Henry,” she said, nudging a man in the arm. “Give her some room to sit down.”
I sat down on the chair the woman offered, looking round the group who all nodded back to me. “I’m Erica,” the middle aged woman said. That’s Henry the other side of you. Don’t ask him about his poodle, he’ll be on at you for hours. Then there’s Nigel there, the longest serving saddo. Next to him is Leanne and then Natalie and lastly this is Simon.”
“Hi,” I said, waving and doing my best to remember their names. “I’m Donna.”
A chorus of hellos went up as Nigel, the white haired old gent who’d been speaking when I first came in, coughed loudly. “If I can get back to what I was saying, I don’t see the point in asking him when he’s just going to say no.”