Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ouch!




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.

Not!

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!!


16 comments:

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    ReplyDelete
  2. How bizarre. Why such a total lack of audience reaction? Were they all on powerful sedatives? And which town/city was guilty of this passivity?

    I'm sure Ireland will be very kind to you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I can empathise with you. My first involvement with amateur dramatics was when I lived in Germany. It was was an American group and the first production that I was involved with was Gilbert & Sullivan. My skills were front ans back of house. First night I sat at the back of the theatre, and there was no reaction at all. Total silence. I reacted with laughter and clapping and the audience turned as one to see who was the idiot making the noise.

    Never mind you are coming home to Ireland where we appreciate and react to what goes on, on stage.

    I promise not to bring any rotten tomatoes. Honest. See you soon.

    PS: Think of that performance as a rehearsal for Ireland, and you know what they say about a bad rehearsal! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Audience responses aren't always a good indicator of how they feel about a performance. And a lot of people don't seem to know how to behave at the theatre. I was at a play on Friday night, and I reckon more than half of the audience chatted to a neighbour at one point or another. Even if they were commenting on the play, this strikes me as inappropriate, and I bet it's also contagious.

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  5. Hear hear to your P.S. Grannymar. Just enjoy it for yourselves and sod the audience.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I feel your pain. I walk away with much discontent after experiences like that. Hold on to the fact that the rest of the run has been a positive experience and view this merely as an odd bump in the road :)

    I recently became sieged by self doubt as well during a rehearsal in which I debated with myself the whole time whether or not to bow out of the play as I was feeling inadequate and out of my league. I comforted myself with the thought that there were a lot of people who auditioned and I was chosen for some reason and I've decided to stay the course...but I still feel awkward.

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  7. Come out here to the Pacific Northwest. I'll see to it that you get some wild applause from some of us.

    This bad night was clearly an anomaly. Any play that has been running for a year and is being exported to another country can only be called a success.

    ReplyDelete
  8. There's always one contrary factor in every situation, WWW. Now you've experienced yours for the play it's behind you -and Ireland will be a triumph - count on it!!
    :-)

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  9. All of you: sweethearts.

    I feel so much better, you have no idea.

    Da Power of Blogland and you wonderful readers never cease to amaze and empower me.

    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  10. Zombies, zombies everywhere not a normal one in sight...I told you it is getting freakier and freakier everyday trying to find the "normals" more and more difficult and by normals I mean plugged into and enjoying life not just walkin' zombies aaaaahhhhh they are EVERYWHERE!!!! :P LOL

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  11. What do I say.
    So, sorry for you I am.
    It is evening and I felt such
    heartache for you.
    Knowing you for such a short time.
    But wishing you success and happiness in all you do :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anon:

    And tell me again: why did they all decide to come to my play? :D

    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  13. Baygirl:

    You must come and audition for me some time!!

    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  14. Audiences can be strange as you likely know better than I. Surely the next audience will will be caught up in a different atmosphere.

    I just recall from my amateur only days it was almost easier to be in the cast than be the director sitting in the audience powerless to effect anything going on then. I can only imagine how an author must feel.

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  15. That's show business, as they say. I doubt there's anyone connected with the profession who hasn't experienced similar at some point in their career. Ireland will love you.

    ReplyDelete

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