West Woods and Pinsent

Into the Woods it’s Time to Go

Holly Truslove

It is a truth, universally acknowledged* that I am not a huge fan of the wooded outdoors. This isn’t to say I’m some sort of recluse who never ventures out of their house, but there are things about the forest I’m not a huge fan of. Spiders, for instance, and their uncanny ability to end up on my leg when I’m just beginning to relax.

And the lack of toilets.

Even so, no matter how much grumbling I do, there are some times when the beauty of nature just gets to me, and I have to admit – as much as it irks me – that on some days, being outside is a blessing.

I wasn’t just wandering aimlessly around it should be said. I was filming with Foot In The Door Theatre for some scenes of As You Like It. And what better location could there be for a play set in a forest than… in a forest! So a small group of us packed up our props and costumes, huddled into a car, and set out.

Now, this piece describes a couple of days’ worth of filming. I just had to include West Woods in here, even though we only spent a couple of hours there. West Woods resides in a quiet part of Winchester down a gently declining hill and through a field of cows. It’s just that right mix of human-made activities and natural resources which gives it the feeling of being somewhere As You Like It could take place. But that’s not why I needed to include it. I had to include it because of the swing.

1
My little legs as I swing for the champions

 

I may be in my twenties, but the swing remains one of my favourite things. I have to physically fight the urge to jump on one when I see it free on a playground. But in West Woods, no one can hear you scream. With joy. At being on a swing. So, whilst the others filmed the scenes I was not needed in, I was having the time of my life.

The next day, filming took place at Pinsent. No, I’d never heard of it before either, but it is actually a Scouts campsite. Complete with toilets, a bonfire pit, and sitting logs, it made for a very cosy place.

The first part of the day was quite lazy. I had already done most of my scenes the day before, so I was left to my own devices.** When I was called, I had to make my way through a series of trees with paths wide enough to wander in, but with enough shrubbery to hide in in others. For most of the scenes when I was needed as Celia, I sat in the background on a tree stump and crocheted. I’ve included a picture of this, because the wool was a beautiful gradient and it needed to be shared.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Get a load of that crochet!

 

 

As the day drew on and filming ended, more people started arriving – being at a campsite, it seemed a shame not to have a bonfire on a summer’s evening. But, woe betide us, the fire starter wasn’t working! What were we to do!? Luckily, I came to the rescue with my lighter, which was as green as the forest that surrounded us. With its help, we had a roaring fire going soon enough, and I took a picture of it to document the evidence. @

And so, with the day saved, a dozen of us or so were around the campfire as a few camera shots of us were taken, making s’mores and me telling the longest joke I know,*** surrounded by trees and dusk. And then the sparklers came out and the evening got even better. My inner child hadn’t been so enraptured since… well, since the swing the previous day.

As it got darker, some instruments came out and we had a somewhat old-fashioned singsong by the fire. As I lay my head on my fellow actor’s shoulder and gazed into the bonfire whilst we sang Mumford and Sons, I had a little think, and came to the conclusion maybe the woods weren’t such a bad place to be after all.

 

*by anyone who will sit down and listen to me complain for five minutes.

**i.e. having a little nap on the ground and playing my 3DS.

*** at my director’s request. I’ll tell it to you if you want me to. It starts with a man crawling through the desert…

Edited by: Malin Lillevold

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