Arundel Players offer ‘grumpy old Welshman’ online

The show goes on… in different form for the Arundel Players.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 10:05 am
Stuart Smithers
Stuart Smithers

As spokeswoman Julia Clark explains: “Normally at this time of year, Arundel Players would have their programme of plays for the year confirmed.

“Preparation and rehearsals for their first two productions of 2021, Neville’s Island and Lady Killers, would also be well underway.

“However, like most organisations in the creative and entertainment world, it was impossible to make any firm plans for when rehearsals could begin and when audiences would be able to return to the Playhouse Theatre in Arundel.

“As all future events at the theatre had been postponed until further notice, and audiences couldn’t come to the theatre, the Arundel Players’ committee decided that as it was important to keep in contact with their members, they would organise various short videos for the membership to log on and watch.

“The latest of these are two short monologues specially written and performed by Stuart Smithers.

“This will come as no surprise to regular Arundel Players audiences as Stuart has for the past eight years written a short one act play to be performed during the Arundel Festival.

“With time on his hands during lockdown, Stuart decided to get writing and not wait until later in the year. He has written and filmed two monologues, Superstition and Dreams, featuring the thoughts of a ‘grumpy old Welshman.’”

Stuart takes up the tale: “The two stories started with the set, which is my garden shed. I wanted to get away from the usual domestic backdrop you so often see in homemade videos.

“The idea of filming in my shed was prompted by the old Jack Hargreaves TV programme, Out of Town.

“Hargreaves became a household name during the 1960s and 1970s with his reminiscences on old rural ways and customs, broadcast from his rustic workshop.

“I thought I would give it a go using my shed as a backdrop.

“I then had to come up with a suitable character.

“I am a devotee of Dylan Thomas and admire the characters he created in his masterpiece Under Milk Wood. So, inspired by Thomas’s colourful characters, I decided to invent one of my own.”

From the safely of his shed and talking directly to camera, Stuart becomes his ‘grumpy old Welshman’ who enjoys giving the viewer the benefit of his jaundiced view of the world, based on his own life experiences.

In Superstition, the grumpy old man muses on the proliferation of superstitions and questions why we still believe in these old wives tales; naturally he has a theory, involving dark forces at work.

The second video, Dreams, sees the grumpy old man seeking professional help with a recurrent nightmare which leaves him with a sense of impending doom, but events take an unexpected turn

Both videos are around ten minutes in length.

Stuart added: “I had great fun developing my grumpy old Welshman character and who knows, there may be other insights he wishes to share with us in the future. Watch this space!”

Stuart’s two short videos are available to view by visiting the website: http://www.arundelplayers.org.uk/videos.html