Ireland was wonderful. Both Debbie and I love it over there. The trip across the sea, despite all the weather warnings, was as calm a crossing as you could ever wish for. We had set off early morning, with Kev and Michelle Orkian in the car and we spent that trip and in fact an entire week, laughing and laughing and laughing.
The tour of Ireland sped by. Thanks to the way it was organised we managed to enjoy back roads and not just sit on main roads. We enjoyed small towns and villages and were enchanted by the views as well as the people.
All good but I guess Portrush was the best. Was that because it turned out much better than we thought? Perhaps. Debbie used to go there as a child for days out with her family. We booked the hotel too late to get into most places but we got very lucky with a delightful small hotel overlooking the sea and golf courses. It was still early afternoon when I got the call from Steve, our stage and tour manager. He thought I should come and look at the place we were booked to perform in that night. ‘Problems?’ ‘I think it is going to be very difficult to do the show… if at all’.
I went down to the town and it was very sunny and busy. Nowhere to park but got in to a spot in a back alley that was the back way into the cinema we were going to work in. The screen had been lifted out of the way, no other curtains, no wings to store props, minimal lighting, the roof had been leaking and the paint had blistered off the walls. The ‘stage’ was only about 12″ high off the audience seating at the front and they were very close.
On the good side the young man who ran the technical side of the theatre had freshly painted the back and side walls of the stage area matt black. He had hinged some wood panels to the front end so I pulled them forward a bit and as all we had were two banks of disco style lights Steve hung some black cloths on their stands and now we had two side stage ‘store’ areas for a couple of illusions.
The lad had blown up some of his own design posters and covered the blistered paint areas. We were getting close to being able to do the full show, and pretty soon Steve’s computer was plugged into the sound system and the audience were coming in. We were sold out. Debbie’s family took up the whole of the second row. Unbelievably a stag party from Belfast was in the front row and became the butt of many jokes.
The show flew by. We had a riot. Love you Ireland. Love you Portrush.
Since we came home I have managed to do more work on the boat, thanks to our neighbours letting me use their boat house. Another two weeks should see it finished.
I am becoming better organised into regular work patterns and have even got round to putting posters onto eBay again. I must get that going again on a regular basis ‘cos Debbie had found loads of them under the guest room beds.
Hope all is well with you.