Anna Slack On Behalf of the Cambridge Tolkien Society writes:
The morning of June 19th found a motley crew arrayed about the outside of Borders, Cambridge. They wore matching black t-shirts with a fetching design and a slogan that had been raising eyebrows all over the university city of Cambridge for weeks. Burdened with boxes of food, various odd implements for creating sound effects and, of course, the Ring of Power, they set up camp for what was to be a long and extraordinary day.
The reading finally got underway at 09.30am, begining with Gollum’s capture and imprisonment in Barad-dur. The cast, over the course of twelve hours, travelled once again the long road from the Shire to Mordor, and back again, wending to a conclusion at 21:00.
Highlights of the day were too many to mention here, but, nonetheless, here are a few of them: Gandalf and the Balrog, Gimli and Eomer stabbing at each other across the microphone as the Lady of the Golden Wood’s honour was called into question, the male members of the cast singing ‘To Isengard’, the spiky interaction of Gollum and Sam over the thorny question of potatoes, the battle of the Pelennor fields, the eerie bubbling noises made for Shelob, the dephalangement of Frodo at Mt Doom and, of course, the appearance of Brian Sibley, who stepped in to play Elrond, Halbarad and Eothain at varying times. The attached photos (sadly only a few at present!), show Samwise and Gandalf sharing a mic in Moria just before that unfortunate incident with the Balrog, and Frodo and Gollum at Mt Doom.
Of course, in a performance as long as this there were bound to be mistakes – the best perhaps being a slip up on sound, meaning that orcs appeared briefly at the Grey Havens… Although this was rectified swiftly!
The day was a huge success, and enjoyed immensly by all. Some people stayed for the whole thing! The sponsorship money is yet to be tallied, so we have no final figure raised as yet; but at least £255 will be going to the National Trust.
The absolute icing on the cake was the suggestion that we take the performance to Tolkien 2005 – the organisers have been contacted, and we shall keep you posted!
At the end of the day the cast repaired most appropriately to the Eagle pub and sang songs until they were ejected at closing time.
Then came the moment for many partings; and the fellowship was sundered for a little while. Many tears were shed, but they were not evil.
Our thanks must go to Brian Sibley, Michael Bakewell, the BBC Archives, BBC Worldwide Music, New Line Cinema, TOR.N, Elly Metcalfe, Borders and Starbucks for all their help – and to the people who supported us on the day.
As for the cast and crew, our closing toast was to Scene 81, and to 2005!