Saturday, 27 May 2017

Her Last Performance is a Fairy Tale

Our story begins with my lovely friends, Chris and Justine Dodds, who decided to renew their wedding vows at the beautiful Ceridwen Centre, in Drefelin.

2 months ago, I visited Chris & Justine to interview them about their love story, so that I could write a bespoke fairytale, just for them, in celebration of their 20 year marriage, as part of the renewal of their Wedding Vows. 

Having found out about their love story, I set about weaving fairy magic, telling how they met, including their favourite trees and their favourite songs, the story of their children,  how the family came to be in Wales,  including personal references about the local area where we all live, as well alluding to their stained glass business Cariad Glass, where they both work together.

'Once upon a time, a long way into the future, there lived an old royal couple, who sat together hand in hand, admiring their beautiful castle. They were more in love with each passing moment, for never had two people been so right for each other.

The sun shone rays of rainbow into every corner of their home, built entirely from coloured glass, every window telling a story fashioned by their own hands, leaded with more love than any fairytale ever told: Him, her King and she, his Queen ... '

They were delighted with their fairy tale, so as a surprise, I decided to publish little books as wedding favours for them and their family.

They invited me to read the fairy tale at the Ceremony and I was so delighted I said yes ...  until I got home and thought about it. 

I have been performing on stage since I was 5 years old but now, after 46 years of treading the boards, my hyperacusis has put an end to my performance career.

My hearing loss is just about manageable on stage & I can learn to live with tinnitus but the hyperacusis (sound intolerance to certain frequencies of my tinnitus range) means that I simply can not be in environments where I have no control over the volume because it is as if the speakers have blown in my head. 

And understandably, when a large number of guests congregate for a wedding vows ceremony, their joy and excitement, relates to increased volume.

No worries, I slipped off and hid in a tractor shed until the Ceremony was just about to start. Besides, it enabled me to have a quick read through.

I found that once on stage it was ok because the speakers were in front of the bandstand, facing the congregation, so I couldn't hear them.

But when the audience all laughed together or clapped, it was as if someone had turned up the volume to maximum in my ears.

Likely, it was the least performance-like performance I have ever done. It was all I could do to hear my voice in my head above the distortion that had kicked in half way through.

BUT ... I DID IT ... which I am so pleased about because I really didn't want to let my friends down and it felt very important to be there sharing their day with them.

Chris & Justine exchanged their utterly wonderful vows to each other (not a dry eye) and then everyone went to congregate for the band, so we had to make a swift exit.

As I walked back to the car, I knew in my heart that this was the last time I would ever perform live.

It felt as if I had gone full circle because my first ever performance was on a bandstand at the Pier when I was about 3 years old and likely, it was the least performance-like performance, because I just sang from my heart, which is where my fairy tale came from at the ceremony, today.

Before I left, the guests said such lovely, kind things about the bespoke fairytale that I had written and performed for Chris and Justine and I told them how I have been working on a new website for the opening of an online business, writing love stories into fairy tales for weddings, hand-fasting, civil partnerships, baptisms, anniversaries ... any of life's ceremonies.


So, although today marked the end of live performance for me, it has opened a new door to step through, and for that I thank Chris and Justine for trusting my fairy magic at their most special of days, because although my hearing is fading, it would seem that perhaps my wand is still very much in tact.

As I left, Chris and Justine gave me a gift. I opened it when I got home and I am so utterly moved. What a thank you. They have made me the most beautiful, personalised piece of stained glass to hang in my window, inscribed from them and the children. How blessed I am to live in such a loving and creative community.

You can find out more about Cariad Glass here.
You can find out more about the Ceridwen Centre here.
You can find out more about me here.

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