(*UPDATE Sunday 20th August*
Seeing as this post has gone semi-viral – as the kids say – I have edited it slightly. I mentioned in the original post, that three people were involved in booze fueled shenanigans at Friday’s show. I was told last night, that in fact it was a group of four, but that only two people misbehaved. Noted and corrected.)
Last night’s show was strange and unsettling.
Thanks to some actors. Not actors performing in the showcase. Or actors from Firedoor Theatre. The trouble was caused by two actors from another theatre group in town. I won’t name the group – as I am not certain whether the culprits are still members of said group. In any case, people are responsible for their own behaviour, and it’s unfair to tar an entire group for an innocent association with individual members.
It was 7.45pm. The audience was waiting for admittance to the theatre when they arrived. I recognised their faces from out and about – either from having seen them in performances, having attended workshops with them, or just through Facebook.
The gentleman carried a 6-pack of Tennants Lager. The woman was clutching an unopened bottle of bargain bin wine. I looked at my box office co-worker with alarm. We said nothing which was our mistake. I rationalised to myself however, that as there are no refreshments for sale at the Pearse Centre, it was hardly fair to deny them permission to get their drink on during the show. These people are actors – they know the effort that goes into staging a show. They knew how they should behave. A quiet drink was no big deal.
After I had switched off the house lights – which was the cue for the lighting technician to start the show, I snuck downstairs to the dressing room. There were people who’d forewarned us that they could only make the second half. I wanted to position myself close to the entrance of the building, to let them in when they arrived.
At 9pm I hurried back into the theatre, waiting to bring the houselights up for the twenty minute intermission. The final piece was just finishing. As the thespians made their way backstage, one of them muttered ‘Wow that’s a rowdy audience.’ Nobody seemed too bothered at this point though.
Milling about on the outdoor deck during the intermission I noticed the two actors. Both looked a little worse for wear. Even though they look like they are not strangers to heavy drinking – even in their sober states – they appeared especially drunk this time.
The second half began. From backstage I could hear strange noises from the darkened room. It’s a small theatre so the space is intimate. Noise travels. The first piece finished. On went the second troupe. The noise intensified. I was preparing with my cast for their glorious entrance for ‘Mother’s little holiday’ – the finale. The two actors appeared backstage after their piece had finished. One looked very angry.
He whispered, ‘They are in the front row, X was drinking a beer, but waited for my opening line to crack open a new can, which he left by his feet, and he continued drinking from the other one.’
Hell’s bells. What were they playing at?
I prepped the stage for the leopard-print ladies and tip-toed to the rear of the house. It seemed quiet. Maybe they’d sorted out their internal issues.
About two minutes into my play, the two of them emerged from the toilets, and staggered to some empty seats close to where I was standing. Giggling and whispering. They proceeded to start kissing and chatting like a pair of randy teenagers. I’d guess both are in their thirties (although all that hard living may have prematurely aged them).
I was livid. These people should know what is appropriate behaviour during a live show. I doubt they’d appreciate that carry-on in a piece they were performing themselves.
Other audience members hissed at them to shut up.
I couldn’t really concentrate on my play, so distracted was I by the rustling of these so-called actors.
At the end, I rushed backstage to congratulate the wonderful cast. As the audience filed out, at the stage door appeared the booze soaked face of the woman.
She lurched forward and slurred ‘That was great’.
I saw red. There is no point engaging with someone so drunk however. So I said ‘You were extremely disruptive during the show, you are not welcome here’. And I shut the door in her face.
Her beery sidekick was kicking up a storm outside trying to gain re-admittance to the building, having allegedly left his jacket behind.
In O’Neill’s pub afterwards during the postmortem (I was late as I helped clear the glasses and wine bottles and cans which they had so kindly left behind) I discovered that before the show, the woman had barged into the dressing room to demand a glass for her wine. Although by all accounts she was glugging it straight from the bottle throughout the play.
I don’t want to second guess these clowns’ motives. I have no idea why they would behave in the manner that they did.
We know their names and faces.
Dublin is a small town. The acting scene is even smaller. I love to talk.