Published: Sunday February 22, 2015.

It's done

That’s it. The Craven Players performance of The Rocky Monster Show is complete. The stage breakdown was done, and there’s some final spring cleaning to, but the performances are done. There were three performances. There was a director who wanted to change things frequently, there were moments when the kids didn’t give two hoots about learning the lines, but everyone involved pulled something out of the bag and we made it happen.

There will hopefully be a profit. Each night there was a full set of bums on seats. Ballpark figures for attendance over the three performances is 160. There were raffle tickets and ice creams sold. On the flip side, there were months of hall rental, costumes, props, gifts for the performers and adult helpers, and sundry expenses. That’s the numbers side of things because that’s what I normally talk about. What’s new for this performance is that I was an assistant to the director. Something else that’s new was my working with the juniors (kids) for, and that’s not normal for me. There are, give or take, 20 kids in the juniors. They range from 5 years old to early teens. It’s usually after this age range that they move on to wherever their lives take them, but there are some that stay on.

Prior to joining with the Craven Players, I can’t recall a time where I was working with kids. It’s not something I ever do in my job, but this experience has opened up some new opportunities for me professionally. I’ve been told that I get on well with the kids, and they do appear to be getting on with me. I don’t have kids. I have never been a dad, and won’t ever be one. And, no, this is not some awkward attempt at masking an undercurrent of broodiness.

I enjoyed it. The Wednesday evenings of word bashing, the 101 decisions that needed to be made each night, the bodges and alterations that were required to hold the thing together. Every cable tie and piece of duct tape was there for a reason. The sweat I endured putting up and dismantling the stage, PA and lights with a bunch of people was absolutely worth it. The bunch of questions I was asked because I knew what I was doing was all taken in stride and dealt with.

It’s taken me a considerable time, but I found some fun. It has challenged me, frustrated me and made me think around problems quite unlike anything else. When I was an exta on Doc Martin, I noticed how everyone involved worked long hours with seemingly endless energy and motivation. Every time I do a performance, I understand why. They get the job done. They have a target. They go hard, and then they go home.

I called my mum the other day. I told her about how I was enjoying working with the kids and the first thing she told me was that Pat Duggan would be proud of me. Pat was my first drama teacher. Well, that’s not quite true; Pat ran a sort of drama/youth club every week in Tibberton. It was there that I started to come out of my introvert shell during my early teens. I hadn’t thought about those meetings for years until my mum mentioned Pat, and I remembered that we weren’t ever reading a script for a given performance. This was personal development, pure and simple, and an opportunity to meet new people. I don’t recall any names or faces it, but I know that Pat was instrumental in a part of my week. There’s a whole backstory about how I got to know Pat, but that’s for another time.

The take away from this is that if I do get given the directorship for the next production, there’ll be more emphasis on personal development and not so much on the pressure of line bashing to deadlines.

It’s been 4 years since Pat died, but I’m confident I can pass on some of the things she taught me.

Then I’ll know Pat would be proud.