Can I be Frank? Nick Forsyth sheds some light on this year’s Christmas Play
Last year we took to Zoom to bring you an online extravaganza as social distancing wasn’t allowing us to do anything else and as we approach Christmas, it seems that we might be coming back round full circle. However, having written a more expansive script for 2020 that couldn’t be put into production – we were ahead of the game and took a day in mid-November to deal with the filming.
It was a crazy day starting off at the Farm to film with animals – and yes it was as difficult as they suggest – before going onto Halstead where I was attached to the ceiling in a hoist and thought, “this isn’t going to be as easy as I’d anticipated!” In truth I had not real idea apart from I need to ask Chris Harman for help on how to deliver this and he duly obliged but I’m glad that we went along to get some instruction because it proved incredibly valuable. The funniest moment was when he suggested that Chris should join me as a bolster on the other end to supervise going up and down.
From here we rushed over to Gestingthorpe and to the Church Hall which we used for the house scenes and initial rehearsals of the Nativity. From here we moved onto the garden next door of Roger and Ann Goldsmith and a tree at the bottom of the garden. That allowed us to deal with the Shepherds watching over their sheep before moving onto the Church itself and the use of the tower. Upon returning to Braintree, Katie and I walked across to St Michaels Church to film a shot for the opening titles. I was in full costume and had fun saying “hello” to a few bemused onlookers that we passed en route.
I must say many thanks to Chris and Rose Harman who sorted out the Village Hall for us and our permission to gain access and use the Church. Chris also worked out the logistics for the Angel of the Lord and sourced the supplier for us and I must thank Paul Shadbolt and his team for their interest and assistance. Roger and Ann were kind for the use of their garden and as usual James Garrett at HNE Media laughed his way through the day and turned the film around very quickly.
As usual, Katie deserves big thanks for galvanising everything into action, sourcing props and getting staff onside to help with this process. The Pearson and McNeill children were brilliant in producing the Crowns and Gracie Eveling was helpful in loaning us baby George.
Unfortunately, John couldn’t be with us on location during the morning and so had to hand over his part. But being a good sport, we persuaded him to participate with a special cameo appearance which has caused a laugh from everyone who has seen it! Thanks go as usual to the rest of the cast for their participation. If you need a team-building event making a video is a good one as we all muck in and it builds up team spirit amongst the group.
But you haven’t said what you are doing yet?
Well I remembered a Christmas special that included a nativity and as we haven’t done one of those recently – what you don’t remember Nigel as Joseph and Lisa as Mary in 2010? (watch it again here) – so I searched deep online to find it and pull out a few scenes for us to cover. We hope you like it. It’s only a bit of fun and not supposed to be serious but it does bring me to a fork in the road…
In this challenging world in which we live, it’s difficult to do much without causing offence and if we have done so this year let me be the first to apologise to you as that wasn’t our intention. We’ve covered many programmes that we recall from the warm glow of our collective youth and unfortunately more than half of our staff have no knowledge of who the characters of programmes are.
That suggests to me that one of my younger partners should be taking over as chief script developer allowing me to drop back into the cast where concentrating on learning a line or two will be all important. I’m hopeful that it won’t mean the end of our Christmas Plays but it may mean that we open up the theme to a wider audience.
In the meantime please do take a minute or two to sit back and watch this year’s effort and just remember – Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em!
On behalf of all the Staff and Partners at Lambert Chapman LLP, may we take this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy and peaceful 2022.
In our efforts to raise a smile this Christmas, please share this video with your friends, family and colleagues.