Yesterday evening was a fundraising quiz for the forthcoming production of a play that I am glamorously assistant-directing (‘Miss Julie’ by August Strindberg in the Pearse Centre from 23rd to 27th August). The Quiz Night had a theme – TV and film; it had a location – Robert Reade’s Café and Bar, which was conveniently located outside the Store Street Garda Station, in case of any riots or altercations between competing teams. It had a number of people who had confirmed their attendance. It had a quizmaster. What it didn’t have was prizes.
So I arrived early with a plastic bag full of Tesco’s wine. I didn’t quire manage to utter ‘I want the finest wines known to humanity, I want them here, and I want them now’ to the very nice checkout lady, but I did source some ‘50% off marked price’ bottles.
I made my way upstairs to the venue and laid the bottles out. Then I mosied on over to the offie across the road and purchased another bagful of prosecco and chocolates. Along with a few books of cloakroom tickets, which were going to moonlight that evening as raffle tickets. Obviously, there was no glory to be found in simply taking part – it was all about winning a medium priced bottle of Tesco’s Finest.
This quiz night is funding the arts, I rationalised to my self. THE ARTS!!!
Actually I am a huge fan of table quizzes – having attended quite a few over the past year. They seem to be the ‘go to’ fundraising option for any group or event. Which is convenient if you enjoy the process.
Tonight however, I was not to be a member of a team – I was to be the adjudicator, frenziedly adding numbers and totting totals. However when the quizmaster arrived he casually informed me that my glamourous assistance was unrequired as he could manage just fine by himself.
Opportunity, I thought, to take part. It’s not about the winning, after all. It’s about the taking part.
I found a team. The crowds gathered. A microphone was thrust into my hand and I was asked to introduce the event. Like a well oiled, perma-tanned daytime television host, I oozed to the front of the room and gave a brief spiel about the upcoming play.
I made my way back to my seat. And the competition began. And it was a remarkably difficult quiz unless you are a fan of specific film genres – science fiction and action in the main. Where was the ‘period drama’ round? Or the low-budget independent round. Or even the Romantic-Comedy-Drama round. Despite my abysmal lack of knowledge, my team contained some buffs, and we launched well.
At the intermission there was fevered debate about the price of a raffle ticket. My suggestion of 1 strip for 3 euro, 5 for 10 euro was rebuffed. We needed to avoid fundraising fatigue among our supporters. Instead we opted for 1 strip for 2 euro, 3 for a fiver.
The quiz progressed, and my contribution to the correct answers remained remarkably low key. So low key it was virtually comatose.
After six nailbiting rounds, all answer sheets were collected and the raffle began. The good thing about including many raffle prizes means that there is a strong likelihood that you’ll win a prize. Everyone at my table won a little something.
And then the results. Starting from the lowest score the results were announced. Our name was not called. Fifth place was announced. Then fourth. Where were we? Third place. Not us. Could it be humanly possible that we’d won this thing? Not quite.
But in second place was my team – humbly named ‘The Crap Jedi’.
As two of the team had already left for the evening to catch last buses, I went home, loaded down with a bag full of wine. For the first time in my table quiz history with a prize that I had bought myself (I’d been reimbursed from the takings of course), only two hours earlier.
There’s no business like show business.