So far, I've been on a fairly blissful ride with my play. Rapturous (well, close!) audiences, A smooth run of over a year now in different corners of the province and a crowning success in St. John's back in late May where the standing ovations were swept into our spirits and became almost a de rigeur feeling at every performance.
You may think life is all a big bowl of cherries for me, as a playwright and director.
Last night, well, last night.
It started poorly with people gossipping loudly at the back of the theatre, it looked like (from what we could see) they were pointing out people they knew in the cast.
Our stage manager did the needful and it looked like she just fell short of ejecting them physically. Bear in mind we are performing while all this is going on.
Then there was the opened plastic wrapping of the programmes by the door which a breeze caught and the unholy sound of this was amplified throughout the theatre. Another intervention by the stage manager.
Meanwhile we struggle womanfully and manfully to perform against these irritants. There are defective stage lights which overheat us greatly. I positively hate heat of all kinds, anywhere near the tropics is wasted on me as a vacation.
And then the audience. We struggle to describe them at intermission.
We never... Arctic chills... Can you believe?... Are they just stuffed mannequins?... What's with the silence?... Are they breathing?... Should we shout fire, just for fun?...
The second act brings the same. A coldness we'd not experienced all through the play's run. Unresponsive? Someone should call the coroner!
Lines were fluffed, cues were missed. We were just not having any kind of a good time with it. You need audience interaction. One can feel warmth and positivity.
When the final curtain came down - I'm serious here - there wasn't even a ripple. The coma continued.
We forced ourselves to take a curtain call. It felt so weird. But then a slight arousal rippled across the living dead and they clapped. Gently. Politely.
We decostumed and mingled with them afterwards and the verbal feedback was excellent, as in "best ever" "Oh, I'm fair haunted with it" "I could listen to that music forever, you must put out a CD," etc. Many hugs and kisses.
But. But. We were shell-shocked. It knocked all the stuffing out of the catcalls of "See you at the airport!" when we left.
And since then, the cape of self-doubt settles down around my shoulders like thick, black smoke and steals the glory of the past year.
Oh please be kind to us, Ireland!!