The show must go on

AUP
Week one of the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival is over. What a week it has been.

My script for ‘An unexpected party’ – which was turned into a play by the amazing director, crew and cast has finished its first run.

Eight shows in six days is the most intensive theatrical run I have had in my life before. Five in a week is my previous best.

I am not a hyperbolic person, so when I say that Saturday was the most electrifying day in the history of life, I am being subdued.

Along with an international visitor from the distant shores of Amsterdam, who was staying with me, I had the family up from Limerick on Saturday.

As a bit of a nervous nelly I had been paranoid about the week’s audience attendance figures. My paranoia was misplaced as all week the numbers were good, and built momentum as the days went by. The apparent rule is that if the attendees are fewer in number than the cast, then the show does not go on. This was not ever an issue for our show fortunately. I had warned the company that as the Mammy, sisters and cousin were arriving in the big smoke – from Limerick and Cork – if they were the only ones at the matinee, then the cast would have to take one for the team and proceed. As it turned out the matinee had very good numbers. Existential crisis averted.

I was feeling more apprehensive about this matinee than any performance to date. Why had I used swearing in the text? I was raised classy. Mouthing off like a rabid sailor in front of the Mammy, was simply inappropriate. Too late to change now though. Bite the bullet Murphy. Your mother has heard salty language in her life before.

Waiting in the wings as the audience entered the theatre, I could hear my mother and sister chatting. Dear Dolly, please don’t tell me that they were seated in the front row – the only row I can see from the stage. They wouldn’t do that to me. Would they?

They wouldn’t. They merely have healthy voices that project. Maybe they should be on stage?

Meeting them in the bar afterwards they told me that they had laughed the loudest when my character was accused of having the diplomacy of a sledgehammer. I have to admit that I plagiarised that line. This is an accusation that was leveled at me repeatedly by my kin, as a feckless youth. I wonder if my mother deserves a writing credit?

The evening show was the finale. The members of the theatre group I am involved in – Firedoor Theatre – were in this audience.

The show was late starting. We started to get antsy backstage. What was happening?

Nothing major.  It was merely a case of extra seats being sourced to accommodate the crowd. The show was fully sold out. Result!

It was my favourite performance. It was absolutely magical. No fluffed lines – that I can remember anyway; a boisterous, appreciative audience; and the realisation that the project I had embarked on last year – writing a full play and performing in it – had been realised.

After the show we had to clear the theatre. The new shows for week two of the festival were arriving the next day. We had to leave the theatre in as pristine a condition as we had found it. As I scrubbed the toilet I had a silent moment of reflection.

Then I went upstairs to the bar to meet my friends.

I entered the room, made eye contact with my visitor from Amsterdam and started walking towards her.

Then the whooping started. The entire bar was applauding.

They were applauding me.

I blinked back some tears. The eye moisture was clearly a result of some random onion somewhere. I was simultaneously flattered and mortified. I do like the applause – but on stage. In real life it’s a tad discombobulating.

The show is over.

Where can we bring it to next?

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