Last night was première time with two benefit performances of Is it too late to save Oscar Pike? at the CB2 Cafe Theatre. I had my usual feeling which I think can best be described as being like a bungee jumper who’s just been harnessed up and is waiting for the signal to go. As a director, my work is done. The show is now entirely in the hands of the cast and crew. I trust them implicitly, but kismet will now roll her dice… To raise my simile/metaphor count even more, it’s like over the past 3 weeks, we’ve spent our time carefully building a top. But it’s only now that we find out whether that top will spin.
Last night, it did. When it comes to comedy, laughs are the only criterion that matters, and, reader, they laughed. Plus both shows were sellouts and the technical side went perfectly thanks to Alan and Matt. There were lots of smiling faces at the end and lots of people wanting to shake Paul’s hand (including me – well, I hugged him).
I must say I’m really proud of this little show we’ve pulled together with a mix of professional and amateur actors, and lots of people donating their time and talents to the production. I have to make a mention here of Kay Morland, who made our “secret” set piece (no spoilers here, sorry!). She’s recently finished her qualification in set design but I have to say her professionalism and the cunningness and humour of her design say to me that she is going to go far.
But the chief kudos, of course, have to go to Paul, who had guts of steel on two levels: to hand his play over to me in the first place and say “do with it what you will”; and to take on the challenge of playing the leading role without any formal training in acting or virtually any experience. If I was a potential bungee jumper, Paul must have been a commando about to launch himself out of stealth helicopter, but he carried it off with style and aplomb. Hoo yeah!
So, next shows aren’t until the end of the month at the ADC Theatre (31 May and 1 June with special guests Fred’s House). These shows present a whole new, entirely different set of challenges – what works in an intimate space like CB2 won’t necessarily work in a large, open space like the ADC Bar.
So go ahead, bungee guys. Strap me in.