Sunday, 4 August 2013

British Pageant Red Cast - Day 10

Head over heels!

Photos by Marie Barber

That was such a brilliant day, probably one of the top 10 days ever. There was the inevitable sadness and tears of having to say goodbye to my Pageant family, but it was great to have so many members of my own family there, my mum and dad, brother and sister with all their families, aunt and uncle and their family and lots of Lynne's family.

Lynne's leg was so much better today, she was able to put some weight on her leg, which made getting round so much faster! So tonight she was able to do all her scenes (except for the dances). Tonight with a big Scottish crowd in, the best part of the evening was the roar when the Scottish dancers came on.

On stage tonight I think the Lord may have spoke directly to me while we were doing the book of Mormon scene, where the family cast come on and read the Book of Mormon, I had opened the Book of Mormon at a random page and was pretending to read, I couldn't see the words as I didn't have my glasses on and the light was quite dark. Lynne then pointed to a verse, I brought the book closer to my face and squinted and was able to make out the following phrase "Shave with a razor"! (2 Nephi 17:20)

Some exciting news that we received is that there will be meetings for the cast and work crew on Thursday and Friday evenings with senior general authorities. I would be extremely excited at this prospect except that I will be very unlikely to get the time off work. Hopefully Lynne's recovery will be speedy and she will be able to drive down with Charlie. 

Today we also had a red cast testimony meeting, where many of my new friends shared thoughts and experiences similar to the ones I had. There was a definite sadness about it being the last time that we would all be together, I had thoughts about the next life thinking it would be cool if we were able to have some kind of 2013 British Pageant reunion and a one time extra show.

Tonight before the show, all the cast in their outfits got a picture in front of the temple, it was then highlighted the symbolism of the photo, the fact that we represented the early british saints who left this country in their thousands to head to Nauvoo so that they can be close to the temple and here we were around 160 years later, representing them in front of a temple in our own country.

It is sad to think that the Red Cast is now over, however by some small miracle I may get to go back on Thursday and Friday to see the modern day Heber Kimball's coming to this land. If not I will have the privilege to see the final performance of the show next Saturday, with all the positive reviews those tickets will now be like gold dust, I could get a fortune for them on ebay!

When I was set apart, it was for the duration of the pageant, so for this week I will try hard to keep up the good and positive feelings that have come to me. I will write one last blog entry to put down some overall reflections on my pageant experience as well as my thoughts on actually getting to see the show. 
Best of luck to the blue cast, hope your experience is a great one.

Truth will prevail!

Saturday, 3 August 2013

British Pageant Red Cast - Day 9

It was the morning after the night before!

Considering what had happened yesterday, Lynne awoke in fine spirits. She was still upset about how the show ended for her last night, but she chose to focus on the overall positives of the Pageant experience. There was considerable sadness about not being able to get on stage tonight but there was a level of acceptance in it. For breakfast we went to the same greasy spoon café that we had done yesterday to give the couple the pass along card inviting them to download the music of the Pageant.
Whilst we were there I received the following facebook message from a fellow red cast member (and my former MTC teacher) Richard Cook:

We were so sorry to hear about Lynne's accident yesterday. Your blog expresses wonderfully your heartache, but faithful determination to continue serving in ANY way. It was very moving.

Now then, a carpenter I am not, but I do believe in the pageant, and I do believe in you two! I am busy making a solution which I hope will allow Lynne to continue onstage, though I'm afraid it won't have power to let her do the Highland Fling tonight I'll bring it with me this afternoon, but obviously it's up to you whether or not you tell her.

God speed brother!


As Lynne and I sat in this greasy spoon café, we felt very overwhelmed by this kind note and gesture, later at the talent show. Richard showed up with these old fashioned styled crutches:

Brother and sister Cook with Lynne and the crutches they made with the sides off a bed - I hope one of their children isn't sleeping on the floor tonight.
This made Lynne feel comfortable enough to go out on stage for a couple of scenes, I think it was important for her personally to not feel that the Pageant had ended by limping off. It was physically quite tough for her, but she seemed to get some sense of closure, I get the feel from her that she may just enjoy it from the audience tomorrow evening, but that's the great thing about Lynne you just never know what she's going to do next!.
This kind action by Richard demonstrates what the Pageant is doing for everyone involved better than words ever could. A protective bubble has been created around those involved, teaching us all that a community of Zion is possible. It was this hope that led the early British saints to the boats crossing the Atlantic and the long journey westward.
Another highlight for me was our family's pioneer was in the audience. My Granny Day was there and it was her along with my Grandad who were the first members of the church joining over 50 years ago.

My grandparents have always been great examples to our entire family and it is part of my own personal heritage. They were the first members of our family to serve a mission, going to the London temple for 18 months when I was a teenager. Just over ten years ago it was my Grandad who sealed (the phrase we use for temple marriage) Lynne and I together, at this point of his life his health was very poor, his eyesight and hearing were terrible, however as he took his place in the Preston temple, he took on the persona of the patriarchs of old. It has been 8 years since he passed away, but Charlie was named after him and it seems like he inherited the same 'wicked' sense of humour.
Seeing my Gran and auntie Lesley sitting in the second row made the whole event feel even more special, tonight's show was amazing. Everyone just seemed so happy.
There is a general feel of apprehension among the Red cast that tomorrow is our last show, people are perhaps not quite ready to leave this place, where we are enjoying this bubble. We are not quite ready for the tests and trials of our 'other lives'. Although I hope that everyone involved in the Pageant will be able to take a bit of what they feel back to their families, communities and wards, thus allowing the Pageant to continue to change the lives of others long after the theatre is dismantled. I think that the emotion will be high tomorrow and the show will be the best yet.
The very definition of a great and terrible day!

Friday, 2 August 2013

British Pageant Red Cast - Day 8

They said "Break a leg!"

Lynne is probably the only person I know that would receive so many visitors in a hospital waiting room (and outside visiting hours!)

Today is undoubtedly the saddest day of our Pageant experience. Tonight while on stage, we were doing the dance that welcomed the apostles to Britain, Lynne ruptured a tendon in her calf, we had to miss out on most of the show and sadly it looks like Lynne will miss out on the last two shows that the Red Cast is in. I can't tell you how sad she is about that.
For me, when I was doing the tonight's show I was absolutely loving it, so I also felt very sad at having to come off stage (and right before my favourite bit), but I could see that she was in considerable pain and was very concerned. A big shout out to some of the unsung heroes of the pageant are the medic team who did an amazing job.
Lynne despite being in some pain is very upbeat about it all, she is taking the view that she was set apart as a "representative of Jesus Christ for the duration of the Pageant" and whether she does that on stage or not will not affect her goal at the Pageant, just the way that she does it. Even today she was amazing at this inviting a couple at a greasy spoon café, two ladies at the laundrette, the Travelodge man and a couple at the accident and emergency room to come and see the Pageant and download the music.
The Pageant has a scene it while we are on a boat setting sail for America, the Cannon family all sit round their sick mother. After a short dialogue she passes away, and through music and acting we see her move from this world to the world beyond. To me it is the most powerful scene of the whole show, I can envisage myself in the position of the Cannon's, to feel the pain of losing your wife and the mother of your children it makes me realise how grateful I am to have Lynne to be my wife and Charlie's mum.
In the dance, initially when I saw something not quite right with Lynne, I just thought come on Lynne there are 1600 people here, don't embarrass me! However, after a twirl I saw that she was in some distress, at that point I completely forgot about the 1600 audience and the 120 folk on stage and just had to get Lynne off and get her seen to.
These feelings are in keeping with the Pageant experience. It shows how the Pageant is very different to other shows, the Pageant is a teaching experience, I am unable to act or portray feelings with my very limited acting skills. However I believe that I am able to express the actual feelings in my heart. I could not teach the audience my belief regarding the importance of families, if I was willing to pretend to be happy for the sake of the show, whilst Lynne was in such pain.
It's too early to say if I'll get on the stage for the red cast's last two shows, it just wouldn't be the same without her. This has very much been a family occasion and we've grown much closer together and been so happy.
Please can you remember her in your prayers - I believe in miracles.