That’s a wrap, folks!

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After an action packed fortnight the 14th International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival finished with a gala evening and awards ceremony last night.

Week one was our performance week – eight shows over six days. I won’t describe this experience in any detail – the ravings of my mind during that week are all visible in earlier blog posts. I’ll just say it was the most intense, exhilarating week of my life. We had good audience numbers and some very positive responses. And we had an absolute blast both backstage and onstage. A recording of one of the performances was made. This is very good indeed. Having been cast myself – in the role of the well meaning but meddlesome Declan – I haven’t had the opportunity to actually see my own play. It will be interesting to see how it looks -I promise to get over my usual mortification at seeing myself perform and try to look at it with a neutral eye.

Then I might edit. I loved how the play seemed to come to life in the capable hands of our incredible director. The finished product is something much more developed than the script I wrote. The text didn’t change much, but handing the script to someone else was a very wise idea as he didn’t have any preconceptions about the tale and was able to add more nuance to the piece. Layers, baby, layers.

Week two of the festival was almost as frenzied as week one. I binged on theatre and saw eight different shows in the space of a week. All very fine pieces – my personal favourite being ‘Spool’ from England – a brilliant play about the conflict between body and mind.

Saturday night was the final night of performances. In the afternoon I went to the Pearse Centre for the matinee of an American play called ‘Lines in the sand’ by Jim Dalglish – a suspenseful tale about a bullied teenager and a mysterious man who comes to his rescue for some unknown reason. The two leads gave riveting performances. It was edge of your seat stuff.

In the evening a group of us from ‘An unexpected party’ went to see an Irish play called ‘A peculiar arrangement’ by Wildream company. Written by Paul Winters, two men are seated in a car in a field on an unknown assignment. The reason for their presence in the car on that particular evening is slowly revealed. It was a funny, well acted piece with an unexpected twist at the end.

We knew some of the cast from the play so we all joined up for an apres-show beverage in O’Neill’s pub on Pearse Street.

The gala on Sunday night was back at our home during the previous week – the Teacher’s Club. Not in the theatre this time. This is a big event so the conference room which can hold about two hundred people was the setting.

Each company that had performed during the festival, and who were still in the country (it’s a global festival – this year there were entries from Mexico, Canada, USA, UK, Germany) were given the chance to showcase a four minute excerpt from their show.

This was nerve wracking – not only was the audience rather large, but consisted largely of other writers and performers. No pressure.

We picked a scene which we thought gave a good insight into what the play was about. We were performing early in the evening which was a relief. After our snippet (which seemed to get a good response) we were able to sit back and enjoy the show.

Of particular interest to me were the week one shows – none of which I had seen, owing to the fact that we were performing at the same.

The musical numbers by Irish company Acting Out from their musical show ‘The Paradise’ were a highlight. I wish I had seen that show. Perhaps a revival should happen.

Various awards were handed out that evening – all the winners and nominees being well deserved.

At the end of the night the ‘An unexpected party’ family reconvened for one last group photograph.

And then ‘whoosh’. As always happens when doing a play, it was over.

Until the next time at least.

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