Friday, May 28, 2010

At Play...

And so on Sunday, we performed our play. As mentioned in an earlier post, it was an adaptation of a Raymond Carver story ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About Love’. We were performing it as part of the One Act Festival organized by the Galway Youth Theatre. The story centres on 2 couples – Herb and Terri, and Nick and Laura – who are sitting around drinking gin and talking about love. Donnacha was playing Herb, the main character of the piece and he immediately inhabited the character of the slightly sozzled doctor, who tells one story after another irritating his poor wife, played brilliantly by Marie, along the way. Nick and Laura are the slightly more idealistic couple, still very much in love, not quite as battered down as their counterparts. John played Nick, with an amazing Southern accent, and great comic timing, while I ambled along as Laura as best I could!

We’d put an awful amount of work into the play – hours of rehearsal, over countless evenings. We had one minor heart attack a week before the play was due to performed when we realized we actually maybe didn’t know the lines as well as we should, so we set about rectifying this quickly. We worked out our movements, our reactions, John and I worked on a little dance routine (including a practice session in the Róisín Dubh one Saturday night) and we felt by the end we’d put together a good play, and we were confident that the story was strong enough to keep the interest of the audience.

The weekend came along and we crammed in the last few practice sessions. The nerves were slowly building as was the realization that we were actually going to have to perform this thing! In front of people! And more specifically, in front of our friends who might decide it best to shun us forever if the performance was a disaster. Sunday came along, as it is wont to do, and we had our technical rehearsal – which was actually very exciting! It was pretty amazing to have it sink in that this was actually happening and there was no going back! That evening, we all gathered at Nun’s Island and prepared to hit the stage.

We found out we were going to be 5th. This was not a fun prospect, as we had to sit in the front row of the audience and watch 4 other performances, and keep a hold of our nerves at the same time. The first act started and immediately I wanted to run out of the building – they were brilliant! As were the ones that followed – we had some job to follow them! After the 4th act, I felt strangely calm as we got out of our seats and began to prepare the stage. Luckily the lights prevented me from seeing the crowd too clearly, so in a way we could pretend they weren’t there. And so we began!

We started well, no-one froze and forgot their lines, our accents were ok and the audience laughed – a lot! Lines we didn’t realize were funny got big laughs, while bits we thought were funny maybe didn’t get quite as big a reaction. That was great, but in a way I found it hard to stay in the moment and not laugh along with the audience. About halfway through, I think we lost it a little – the second half wasn’t as good as it had been in rehearsals, but we were still happy with it. We’d a bit of a blip where a section towards the end got skipped over, but the audience didn’t notice. And then we were done!

Twenty minutes on the stage felt like maybe 5! It was incredible. I felt really strange immediately afterwards – I couldn’t believe we’d just done what we’d done and we’d survived! We didn’t make a massive mess of it, sure it wasn’t the best we’d done but still – we did it and it was a great achievement! The rest of the night felt like a dream as we watched the rest of the acts, and then quickly debunked to the nearest pub for a well-earned pint or two, along with the other groups who’d performed! There was a lovely atmosphere, everyone complimented everyone else and there was a great sense of camaraderie. We then finished off the night with a dance in the Róisín (it seemed only right) and then our adventures in theatre-land were well and truly over!

The day after was amazing, I was really filled with a sense of achievement and pride in what we’d done. I can really see how people love being on stage – it’s quite an amazing feeling! Would I do it again? Sure, but only on a small scale! I can’t see myself auditioning for any big shows – but maybe I’d like to get involved in the organization of one in the future. All I know for sure is, it was an amazing thrill and now I’m looking for my next project!

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