Tonight was the Dress Rehearsal of the 6th Cape Town Military Tattoo 2010 at the Castle of Good Hope. If you haven’t gone to see it yet, book your tickets now at Computicket! At R80 – R100 a seat, and with a show that is about three hours long, including the pre-show from 19h00 onwards, this is definitely value for money, and a wonderfully colourful and spectacular event.
Here are some more pictures I took during the last day of rehearsals on Tuesday 2 November. They are mainly behind-the-scenes shots of the preparations, with only a couple of the dress rehearsal itself. I left after the first couple of acts because I got a whopping great migraine.
These shots will give you a tiny glimpse of the incredible amount of work that happens behind the scenes and in the background, but without which this event would not be so spectacular.
On the Arena
When I arrived at the Castle on Tuesday afternoon, the sky had turned cloudy and grey. The announcer’s cubicle on the upstairs balcony overlooking the arena was being secured with tie-down straps, to prevent it taking flight in the wind. In November, the wind in Cape Town can get mightily powerful. Lance Corporal Leon Wessels was showing a couple of loggies (blue berets) how to tie down the barrier rope, separating the seating stands from the arena, to discourage spectators from straying onto the arena during the performance. Captain Jacques Murdoch meanwhile was giving instructions to his team to glue the seat numbers onto the correct seats – not as straightforward as it seems, as you have to keep your wits about you.
I ambled around backstage for a while, chatting with some of the performers and members of the production team. In the rear arena, the SA Navy Sea Cadets were getting a pep talk from Lt Paul Jacobs, while Mr Saeed Ruiters was speaking to the youngsters of the WPSMDEA Drill Squad, who would be performing later.
The various bands and groups of performers took turns climbing up the staircase to the mess above, where they had an early supper before the start of the show.
On my rambles, I suddenly spotted Capt Francois Morkel; he plays the role of the Castle Commander who stands on the Kat balcony at the start of the Tattoo, and who hands the keys to the Castle’s front gate to the Guardsmen to lock the gate at the start of the Tattoo. After doing so, they return the key to him.
And this is the key!
Cape Field Artillery Saluting Troop
Howling sirens in the surrounding streets signaled the arrival of the Big Guns of the Cape Field Artillery Saluting Troop. I found my fellow photie-friends Brent and Lorraine out front already, taking photos of the gun crews unhitching the heavy guns from the tractors, rolling them into position and heaving them onto their bases. MWO Bennie Havenga, the Regimental Sergeant Major of the Cape Field Artillery, was keeping a close eye on the crews. They kindly posed for a couple of group photographs.
Before the Show
As the first audience members of the Dress Rehearsal started trickling into the Castle, I headed backstage once more. The members of the Production Team – Maj Charles de Cruz, MWO Rodger Boltman and CWO Japie Cupido – briefly addressed all the participants. I could feel the excitement mounting!
A pretty presenter from Zoopy TV had been interviewing some of the bandsmen and production team higher-ups for an insert that was to be flighted on the channel the next day, to promote and market the Cape Town Military Tattoo 2010. She got an impromptu lesson in drumming from Corporal Donovan Claassen of the SA Army Band Western Cape.
Here We Go!
After doing a circuit of the backstage area, I returned to the front arena, where the stands were gradually filling up. Teams of ushers from the SA Air Force and the other arms of service were showing people to their seats. I could see numerous other photographers and journalists from various media outlets – television, radio, newspapers – milling around; tonight was their opportunity to take some photos of the action on the arena close-up, so that they could publish some articles about the Tattoo to boost ticket sales. With so many photographers on the arena, I kept my distance; I didn’t want to get into their shots accidentally.
First Muster and WPSMDEA Drill Squad
I stayed for the First Muster and the Drill Squad from the Western Province Schools Marching Drill and Exhibition Association, but my headache was rapidly turning into a migraine, and the loud music and bright lights were making things worse very quickly. So, regretfully, I packed away my gear and headed home. Thankfully, tomorrow evening there will be another performance to look forward to!