As some of you remember, No Drama Theatre staged our first ‘major’ production back in May. It comprised of two One Acts, Tales From The Fairground, and the main event, Night At The Invasion. The latter of course being the piece where I played the character, Col. Hazelby. Our esteemed director of Invasion, Barry O’Donovan, had his work cut out for him. Given he had written the play, it put him under increased pressure as it was his work being staged afterall.
We had a cast member pull out half way through production, many re-writes and an enormous amount of rehearsal time (5 months), which was due to the lack of funds available to us in the early days to put us in a position to put the play on. While the end result was something to be proud of, no one will deny the struggle we had putting the whole thing together. Directing seemed like a role best left for the foolish.
I’m some fool it seems. No Drama is staging Charles Dyer’s excellent farcical murder mystery chiller, Wanted – One Body! in January and muggins here is directing. Why I’m directing instead of acting is a long story (I did set up the group because I wanted to direct) but when I took the reigns I decided that a major battle plan was needed. Afterall the play is 2 hours long. It seems we are doing another “first major” production and stage time is less than 8 weeks away…
Fortunately the passion and committment of the No Drama members has been fantastic. I have a co-director in Noel Murphy. And I have a Stage Manager and Production Manager in Darragh Beirne and Cat O’Sullivan. Most amateur drama groups struggle organising a backstage and production team. Working with Darragh and Cat we have a team of almost 12 people. Friends in the theatre world have commented on how lucky we are to have such a large committed team. It seems its something that only the professional world has the privilege of having. And I must add, that no one is getting any form of payment to be involved in the production.
I’m very impressed by my cast of 9 people. Some of them have never graced a stage before. All of them have shown massive dedication. Everyone learnt their lines for Act 1, as requested, before the first rehearsal. In the next few days, we are starting to do full run throughs of the play. It is being staged in The Teachers Club on Parnell Square from January 20th to 23rd.
My stress levels are 90. Yes, I admit it. Despite how organised things are, it impossible not to be anxious. During some rehearsals, it has taken us 30 minutes to get a snippet of a scene of 1 minute nailed. There is so much going on in the play be it dialogue, visual or General Comedy Business (as we have kindly christianed it!)
But despite my blood pressure, I’m very excited and privileged to be doing this. I don’t see myself wanted to direct again for some time (I prefer to be performing!) but I know I benefit greatly from this experience.
Big thanks though goes to James Power of Stagemad Theatre and Jason Gill of Athlone Little Theatre. While they probably don’t realise it, they have been acting as my mentors on occasion over the past weeks. Without it, I’d be a raging alcoholic by now!
The above poster is a draft and not the final product. Wanted – One Body! was written by Charles Dyer. This amateur production is performed by arrangement with Josef Weinberg Ltd