‘Sing this’, he told us, handing us each a small backpack and a mug. I peered inside the mug. Inside the rim were printed some words in a forward-leaning, loopy script.
Everyone was looking at me as though it was my turn. ‘Aren’t you giving us the notes as well?’, I asked, trying not to sound critical.
He seemed impatient. ‘Look, it begins like this’, he explained, singing four or five notes. ‘Sing it with a broad Glasgow accent.’
But what’s the point of telling someone how a tune starts if they don’t know what comes next? I knew they were all still waiting for me, but I couldn’t begin. What were we doing here, anyway? I had half an idea I’d been asked to join a choral group to go abroad for some musical event, but I hadn’t bargained on this.
I rummaged around in the backpack in search of further enlightenment. A tee-shirt and a broad headband came out first. Then a long, shapeless gown. (Surely this wasn’t what I was meant to be wearing for the concert?!) No music. And then – hang on a minute, if we were going abroad, then where was my passport? My travel documentation? An itinerary, ANYTHING useful?
The scene shifted. We were in a large dormitory with metal bedsteads. This may sound snobbish, but I really would have preferred to have had a hotel room to myself – this looked more like a school or a hospital. And I still didn’t understand what we were doing there. ‘It’s a Scottish play’, one of the other women told me. But I hadn’t been given a script to learn – just the lyrics inside the mug. Considering I’m English, and not an actor, I was beginning to wonder why on earth I’d been selected for what was clearly a very avant-garde production.
The sound of someone moving about on the landing was enough to wake me up. I’d taken medication for a horrendous migraine earlier in the evening, and gone to bed early. This was clearly the explanation for the whole bizarre scenario with the mug, the gown, the metal bedsteads … I’d like to say that I turned over and slept soundly until morning, but unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. Every time I drifted off, I was back in the nightmare. I’m really glad it’s morning!
However, I think I might be wise to take it easy today. Goodness knows what the mystery director might require of me tonight, otherwise!