January 1, 2014
On the last day of 2013, Tom and I traveled to Haddonfield, New Jersey, to participate in their First Night celebration, performing in the Chester County Gilbert and Sullivan Society's production of "Trial by Jury." What a way to top off a year!
For those of you not familiar with "Trial by Jury," it's the story of a fair maid, Angelina, wronged by a cad, Edwin. As this piece predates television by decades, Jerry Springer and Maury Povich do not help them sort out their differences. Instead, Angelina sues Edwin for breach of promise, with the audience sitting in on the resultant trial. A ruffian, a bully, and a sot, all rolled into one package, Edwin takes a practical view of life, and points out that when one is finished with the beef, it seems quite reasonable to, for instance, tackle the mutton. The jury, free from bias of every kind, is against him from the start, although, in all fairness, in recalling the days of their own wild youth, the jury members almost sympathize with him.
The judge too has a past, but there's scant evidence that he has developed any scruples along the way.
And then there's the betrayed would-be bride, who comes to court along with her bridesmaids, some of whom are pretty keen on Edwin. The jury members, all of whom seem prone to falling in love with any pretty face which comes into view, are alternately lovesick and outraged. The townspeople in attendance also seem prone to extreme emotions of any kind in response to most anything that happens.
A rousing time is had by all, and there's even a happy ending, depending on your point of view, I guess.
Well, the audience seemed to have a good time.
And so did we, the players.
There is something ever so wonderful about finding out that, apparently, it's never too late to become a chorus girl, singing and laughing are not incompatible, and the best way to finish off one year just may be singing with friends old and new at the First Baptist Church in one of the prettiest towns in the Garden State of New Jersey.