Sunday, February 03, 2013

We had sort of two techs.

Officially, our tech was Friday night. 7pm till 10pm.

But when we rushed into the venue, fresh from fish and chips in the very nice pub located slightly eerily on Buccleuch Street, Stuart, our tech guy said enticingly that the mid-afternoon show the following day had been cancelled (I guess their audience was as slim or p'raps slimmer than ours) so we could get in at 3 and do our set up then if we wished. We wished, particularly as three fifths of the cast were due the following afternoon. So we were able to retire, exhausted, back to the aforementioned location.

The next day sort of went as it should. Two of 'my' kids arrived. Big hugs all round. The sofa turned up. Woop! The set got dressed. They had a clever lower it windy windy down rig which made pointing the lights simples. Father fiddled about the lighting board. And I gainfully - I thought - enlisted the help of Stuart to hang the ugly landscape and Sacred Heart of Jesus pictures along the backcloth. The third kid arrived in the nick of time.

A top and tail run. Entrances and exits negotiated. Interval confirmed. And the kids were despatched to play nicely at a food providing location.

At which point, the lighting board went nuts, forgot all of its cues and seemed to retain only a memory for a blackout state. Which was nice and heart-racing. I carefully placed the audience chairs in an artful configuration to conceal the fact that we'd, at that point, sold a prize total of 11 tickets. Poor stretched everyway Sandy, king of Technical Things, and a little sidekick, came rushing back to try and fix the lighting board. To erratic avail. But then it appeared to settle itself so - well - deep breaths and fingers crossed and all sorts of hoping for the best so as not to disappoint our enormous audience.

There's a line at the start of the final scene. In his final crisis of faith, Dad talks to God and suggests that if He really exists, he might make "that picture fall off the wall". Keep that thought in your head.

So the play begins. Gavin on. Searching searching. Off. Gary on, all nervous just arrived back home after however many years. Places his suitcase down on the floor. Looks around. Gavin swaggers struts pads back on stage, speaks - and the Sacred Heart of Jesus falls off the wall.

Handily, I think the audience were too mesmerised by their powerful performances to really notice. Maybe.

The first (newly created) act trotted by. They've done better. They've done worse. Kirsty cried twice in her speech. Half the audience cried. The lighting board behaved. The set - Sacred Heart of Jesus aside - behaved.  Nothing catastrophic went wrong. I sat at the back, messing up my sound cues in my rage that there were only 9 people in the audience. Well, eleven inc. Siobs and Emma. But nine. My life. Barely worth getting out of bed for.

In the interval, one of the audience members collared me. "But this is wonderful" she said. "A wonderful play. Who are you? Where are you from?" I explained. "Well, thank you for coming. It's wonderful to see such good theatre and here on our doorstep. I'm only embarrassed that there aren't more people in the audience. You know, we complain often enough that we never get anything interesting here and then when it comes, people don't even turn out to see it. I'm so sorry."

Needless to say, I sat down for the second act soothed mollified and full of slightly more love for the audience.

And the second 'half', refreshed in the interval perhaps or spurred on by Kirsty's tears perhaps, was brilliant brilliant brilliant. The actors cried in teary abundance. I cried. I hope the audience cried. Again. They were wonderful.

The Nine seemed to swarm around us when we were done, heaping praise on us. I didn't know that Nine could swarm. Now I do. And I would like to say thank you to them for turning out on a cold, dank night, sitting in a slightly creepy Masonic Hall for two hours, not laughing at my 'alert there's an interval' introduction at the start - we felt we should warn them in case they had other shows to go to - and then on top of all of that, for being so warmly sweetly nice. We have at least two vows that they will defnitely come and see Jerusalem. So perhaps, £3.36 loss aside according to DG's reckoning, it shan't all have been in vain.

We snatched everything that belonged to us, hurled it into the back of the appropriate cars and dashed off to the pub.

Another little piece of magic folded up and put away again. For now.


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