Theatre Times: ‘Let’s make a scene’


I waited impatiently by the bus stop, in the industrial wastelands. I had an appointment at 6.30pm.  I had been waiting for thirty minutes, for the bus that never arrives. This was annoying. I would be in a frantic rush once I disembarked on O’Connell Street, to get to Lombard Street on time.

My mission – to attend the theatre. Regular readers of this blog may wonder about the regularity with which I seem to attend shows. They perhaps – mistakenly – think that I am a man of deep pockets and shallow morals. This is not strictly true. While it is true that I am a regular attendee of plays and shows, it is equally true that I am as cunning as a fox when it comes to sniffing out a bargain. Any early bird offers, free shows, or cheap preview performances tend to find me present, feigning culture and intelligence.

Tonight’s show was ‘Let’s make a scene’ by the Momentum Acting Studio. I had heard of the group earlier this year, when it performed three short plays as part of the ‘Shorts’ programme during the 2017 International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival. Sadly I never got the opportunity to see the plays by Neil LaBute (‘The Possible’ and ‘Strange Fruit’) and Louis CK (‘The Morning After’) as performed by the studio. They were programmed in the Players’ Theatre; whereas my play – ‘An unexpected party’ – was showing in The Teachers’ Club, on the other side of town. By all accounts their show had been impressive. I was therefore looking forward to this evening.

On a monthly basis the studio opens its stage to actors; dancers and other creative types (by the way – never trust a creative. They’ll steal your scene), giving them an opportunity to perform a monologue, an excerpt from a larger piece, or to test out a new piece in front of a live audience. Having access to a stage and an audience is an invaluable tool for an actor or a writer. Words acted in front of people, can have a completely different resonance and impact, than you’d imagined in your head. Sometimes you’ll discover that what you’d regarded as a throwaway remark in a piece, will get the biggest laugh of the night. The reverse can also be true. The joke you’d regarded as the piece de resistance falls as flat as a glass of Diet Coke sitting by the sink for a week. It’s good to get that feedback if you’ve written something and want to try it out.

It’s also good to get that adrenalin rush that comes with performing.

I reached the venue just as the door had closed. Feeling dejected and forlorn I turned on my heel and was about to walk away. When – like magic – the door reopened. I was granted admittance. Hallelujah. Entering I saw some of the reprobates from Firedoor Theatre who had thoughtfully kept me a seat in the front row. I slunk into position just as the show began.

Two of the actors who will be starring in ‘The Lovers’ Guide to Losing Your Mind’ by Jason Coburn, in the Teachers’ Club next week, had a chance yesterday to try out a scene from the play in front of an audience last night (you can read my account of this play HERE). Christine Hynes and LeeAnne Heneghan sparkled in their scene. I knew they would.

There were about nine other scenes in total . Covering a variety of style – comedy; drama; monologue – it was a varied and very interesting mix. From the opening scene involving an encounter between a wine-gum loving prostitute and her inadequate john; to a mother cleaning her dead son’s trainers; to a married woman distraught that her lover has told his wife about their affair; to an eerie monologue; to the story of a man rearranging his life, after his wife’s early death; to an encounter between a married man and a single woman in a yuppie wine bar.

A hilarious piece about the conflict between flatmates on the opposite end of the relaxation spectrum finished the show.

This was an excellent evening’s entertainment.

I’ll be back. I have a recently written monologue  for a vinegar-lipped harridan. It has yet to be performed.

This might be an opportunity for her spite to shine.


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