The boyfriend and I saw “Terminus” by Mark O’Rowe with Declan Conlon, Olwen Fouéré and Catherine Walker. T’was the Abbey Theatre /Amharclann Na Mainistreach production at the Sydney Theatre Company. I wasn’t sure if the boyfriend was enjoying it. I did notice he was sitting forward on his seat quite a bit with an intent expression but I needn’t have worried, at the end he said it was “the best bit of theatre” he’d ever seen. I thought it was brilliant.
As is our wont we were at the performance when the actors pop out afterwards to answer questions. I love to hear their personal voices and look at the way they move in comparison to the way they “act.” But some people were starting to leave! Had they forgotten? Did they not know better? Andrew Upton suddenly popped up from the seat in front of us and announced that we should wait if we wanted to”Meet the Cast”. I don’t know why that bit was relevant other than it was a bit of a surprise to have Andrew Upton pop up in front of us and address the theatre. There was that moment when I thought someone was transgressing social norms, which would have been exciting. We were in a theatre after all. The boyfriend said, “Oh, it’s Andrew,” like he was our old mate from way back.
I’d like to report (not that it matters one bit) that the actors were back out on stage in NO TIME AT ALL. Truly, they must have rushed. If you consider that they had just performed without a break for 90 minutes and then they were changed and back out in a flash. I was impressed.
Anyway, I had no intention of asking a question. I didn’t have any questions. I was satisfied and quite happy to soak it all in like a bristly dry sponge. That is, until the STUPID CODGER opened his mouth. Oh, shut up, mate. Sydney is on display here. We have to come up with half decent questions for these brilliant Irish actors who have just performed a brilliant play. What does he ask? Honestly?
STUPID CODGER: That could really be a radio play. There wasn’t much acting in it.
ANDREW UPTON glances at BRILLIANT IRISH ACTORS, next to him on the stage.
I reckon the expression on Andrew’s face was an instant mixture of apology, embarrassment and humour all in a split second until everyone else in the theatre decided the old bloke asking the question was stupid and a codger. Although, for the sake of completeness I would like to report that the SC seemed to be with a female companion. The best phrase to describe her is ‘one who is hunkered’, but in defence or embarrassment of the SC I could not say.
My heart started to race. I had to ask a question, bloody hell. I hate asking questions. I like to be like the actor on stage who wasn’t answering questions (Yes, indeed but why was this cast member so quiet? I longed to hear her speak. Speak, silent actor! Speak!) But the reputation of Sydney audiences was at stake. I had to think up a question worthy of the BRILLIANT IRISH ACTORS and the BRILLIANT PLAY. Okay.
In this question, I wanted to:
Thank the BRILLIANT IRISH ACTORS for coming all this way. I couldn’t get to Dublin to see this show. Yes, I was grateful. But I am aware that an expression of thanks is not a question. I needed a question pertinent to the play. So, I decided I would ask about the rehearsal process. I was interested and it was relevant and perhaps, hopefully redeeming.
I raised my hand. I had competition from two other raised hands but Andrew Upton looked straight at me and said, ‘Yes, up the back.”
I can report that my question went down a treat. The audience clapped in response to my expression of thanks to the BIA for performing in Sydney. This established that the SC was outnumbered, phew! I used the word “Brilliant” in reference to the play. Then asked the question about rehearsal. When the attention was off me, the boyfriend leaned in and whispered, “Good question, well done.” I said, “I had to,” glancing at SC.
One would think that all was right with the world by this stage but no. We were dealing with a SC. As soon as my questions was answered he squeaked up in his peeved voice something along the lines that he thought it was unfair/outrageous that “we” had paid “$200 or something” to see something “we” could hear “for nothing” on the radio. Yes, the impossible, the inconceivable had happened again.
I’m not going to write another word about the SC other than to say that I did a “Writing for Radio” Course at the NSW Writer’s Centre last year and the boyfriend mentioned that the SC was probably on the course with me because he was such an expert on radio plays. Do you know, I think he was, even though I could only see the back of his head. Seriously, I think he was.
Time to sign off now but I’d like to leave you with this thought:
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ” Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
- That quote is sexist.
- The SC is not really the embodiment of evil.
- That quote is usually used in response to fascism but you know the wedge does have a very thin edge.