Currently I am rehearsing parts for three short plays. I will be appearing in a Halloween Showcase, at the end of this month. This is being held by the Firedoor Theatre group – of which I am a member. It will be an evening of horror, gore and guts.
It has made time a precious, and scarce commodity. Although these are short plays they all involve rehearsal.
The showcase will comprise of eight short pieces, performed in a basement theatre on O’Connell Street for a few nights at the end of the month. The purpose is to give a platform to actors or writers or directors – of varying levels of experience – to perform pieces of their choosing or creation.
And to entertain the audience of course.
There’s slightly less stress involved than doing a full length play. Each has a time limit. Essential when you consider the logistics involved in such an event.
Lately I had noticed that while I have plenty of experience appearing on stage, I was getting cast in smaller parts on an increasingly seldom basis. What gives?
The irritating cliché goes that there are no small parts, only small actors. Which is why I always agree to do anything that I am asked to do onstage. I graciously accept any role, even if internally I am spitting venom. Within reason of course – although reason includes playing a corpse for 2 hours on a concrete floor, in deepest, darkest, sub-zero temperature January.
However it is true to say that the larger the part the bigger the thrill (if I was a vulgar person, I’d be making a Kenneth-Williams-esque double-entendre about that last sentence. Thankfully I am far too classy to do that.)
It’s ego for certain. I wouldn’t describe it as vanity per se, more of a need to be a peacock, and display all your feathers, and get applauded for it. Attention seeking. But in a good sense, in that it’s an exchange. The performer (hopefully) entertains the audience, who in return gives the egocentric actor the attention he craves.
My ego wouldn’t be as extravagant as some people I have acted with previously, but it certainly exists. As a result, earlier this year I started writing my own pieces. A sure-fire way of getting cast is to write parts for yourself. And even if you don’t appear in your own work, and it goes on, then something that you have created exists, and will have been seen.
The piece I have written for Halloween is a vampire comedy. I play one of two, toothy ones.
Rehearsals are proceeding. It has been blocked (meaning that the stage movements and prop use has been timed and incorporated into the script). Lines still need to be learned, but there is time enough to do that (famous last words).
It seems to be going reasonably well – but I am not certain. As I wrote the thing, I am not the most neutral; and certainly the most self critical when it comes to judging the quality. The plague of self doubt haunts my mind with this. As the other actors and the director don’t seem utterly appalled with it, I am forcing myself take my cue from them. If they seem content with the quality control then I will trust their more neutral judgement. I will internally pretend that I did not write it. This will me to plough on without wanting to shred it in a fit of panic.
The other short play I am involved in, is written by member of the group, who is also directing it. It’s a moody, atmospheric two-hander set on a boat. But who or what is that outside?
This is a very enjoyable piece that I can enjoy without wanting to shred my own fingernails. It is well written, and I can judge that from a position of neutrality, as the finished piece was given to me, and I just need to learn my lines, obey the instructions and emote, emote, emote.
The last piece I am in, I play a minor role as the gay brother of two women who are meeting a neighbour after their father’s funeral.
These – and others – are being performed in Flanagans, on O’Connell Street on 27th and 28th October. Showtime is 8pm. And a veritable steal at only 10 euro entrance fee..
Come one, come all. It will be chilling.