Another of my Teachers

Continuing with my theme of Teachers, I will today feature Mr. Edwards my English/Drama teacher.

A diminutive Welshman, Mr.Edwards was very theatrical but not in the ‘ducky’ sense more in the Producer/ Director mould. Although of diminutive build he had presence and a powerful melodious voice, he was rather like a Richard Burton mini – me. His major vice was smoking, he must have sat in the Staff – Room chain-smoking all through lunch, his breath and clothing reeked of stale tobacco fumes.

Due to his diminutive size, he was smaller than the majority of his pupils. Some clown in his wisdom christened him ‘ Stretch’ and from then on that was what he became, teenagers can be so cruel and thoughtless.

I have to thank or blame, depending on how my performances were viewed, this man for my forays in to the world of Dramatic Art. My first role was in Julius Caesar, I was cast as a spear holder or to be politically correct should that read pilum. My next role was in The Tempest as Trinculo, one of Prospero’s servants, and a light comedy part, which went well. The final role I was offered was the role of Banquo in Macbeth, this was a major part, which I believe I was offered as much for my height and build as my acting ability. When I auditioned for the part one of my major bits went ‘Oh, Horror, Horror, Horror! my version was more akin to ‘Oo, orrer, orrer, orrer’ needless to say I didn’t play Banquo, but a more subordinate role, where I could do less damage. I often look back on this and find it hard to supress a smile!

7 thoughts on “

  1. Surely there has been no one person more influential than Shakespeare. Love that you had the courage to perform his plays! Oh and I HATED my grade 12 English teacher and that is why she inspired me. I never wanted to be like her šŸ™‚

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  2. It sounds like you had a splendid Drama teacher in Mr. Edwards.

    I’d love to have been taught by a Richard Burton mini-me.

    My own High School Drama teacher Miss S., in addition to wearing masses of rouge and make-up and dressing like the whores on 7th Avenue that Simon and Garfunkel sang about in their song The Boxer, saw it as her mission in life to destroy any ounce of acting creativity and talent that her students might have.

    Fortunately I had come across a quote from Peter Ustinov at the time that one of his teachers had tried to do the same to him so I prevailed.

    So she hated me and cast me in a very minor role for the school play.

    Come the night the play was performed, I had my dad make me up to look East Indian and I went on stage talking like Peter Sellers playing the Indian actor Hrundi V. Bakshi in the 1960s movie The Party and ad libbed lines like “I threw my mother’s girdle in the Ganges River. She was so angry, she almost hit the roof. In fact she did hit the roof, it was a very low hut.”

    Lines which brought the house down in what otherwise would have been a terrible bomb of a play.

    Fortunately my parents also paid for me to take Drama and Acting courses through the Citadel Theatre šŸŽ­ in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada which was at the same time the great British actor John Neville was the artistic director of The Citadel Theatre so I got to meet him a few times.

    Through the Citadel I had great Drama teachers like Julia Rose, Pamela Boyd and Keith Digby from whom I learned a lot.

    In the years 2006, 2007 and 2008 I was a member of an amateur theatre šŸŽ­ company The Sherwood Shakespeare Company and played the roles of Hamlet in Hamlet, Mark Antony in Julius Caesar and Mr. Darcy in a stage adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice respectively throughout those years.

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    1. Wow. That is an interesting coincidence.

      Did you ever see him perform?

      He acted in a few of the plays he directed on stage at the Citadel.

      He made a wonderful Sherlock Holmes in William Gillette’s play Sherlock Holmes.

      And he played a marvelous Benedick in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

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      1. Unfortunately I never saw him on stage, around that time I was gigging quite heavily with the band. An interesting performance of his that I do remember was in the film The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.

        Regards Malkie

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