|Charlie with fellow red cast member (and gnome) brother Kennedy.|
Another hectic day of rehearsals, it seems that very slowly but surely a number of scenes are being committed to memory. However the overriding emotion that I feel is one of confusion, when to come on the stage, when to leave it etc. We had a run through of the first half of the pageant this evening, on the stage I would say that there was mild chaos, but backstage felt like it was edging towards carnage (but a fun kind of carnage).
Undoubtedly the highlight for me today was this afternoon, we were practising the dance routine that celebrates the arrival of the apostles to Britain. After three hours we had a final attempt at this and it totally worked, the feeling among the 120 or so cast members on stage was complete euphoria. Not only that it seemed like everyone had lots of fun doing it. It seemed everyone was smiling from ear to ear.
At lunch there was also some excitement regarding the arrival of the 'official pageant t-shirts' available to anyone (not just cast members) for £11. Unfortunately we were not planned enough to have ordered these in advance, so ours are on order. So hopefully by this time next week we will be able to exclaim - the British Pageant, been there, done that, got the t-shirt!
As I have been able to spend time getting to know many of the people in the pageant, I have been impressed by their willingness to give of their time to give service. It is amazing to think of the sacrifices that are being made to allow the Pageant to go ahead, literally tens of thousands of man, woman and children hours will be volunteered to put this together.
This is one of the things that make Mormons particularly in Britain, such a peculiar bunch, more often than not there is positive reply to the call to serve. The willingness of people to take annual leave from work to run youth camps or temple trips. Take time out of their schedule to run activities or teach lessons. People like my younger brother with a busy job, young family and studies also giving so much as he serves as a Bishop. It is made even more amazing by their attitude and willingness to go the extra mile when required.
Without the focus to serve God and his children, the Pageant would simply not work. It would be difficult to justify the effort levels and sacrifices, not without people being compensated or rewarded in worldly measures. It is a witness to the strength of testimony that exists within my red cast.
When it comes to Mormonism, the strap line could easily read "been there, done that, paid £11 for the t-shirt!