Ragtime Rage Time.
Someone wise once told me that after every show you should kill the character you’ve played. Forget their habits, their storyline and their influence on you as a person while going through the process. This hasn’t been a problem this time around – Brigit and I never really bonded, our sole interaction revolved around text from a script. So, bright and blustery Brigit is gone, leaving behind Jamie the skeptic.
I had hoped to write a part 2 to Brigit Mac Giolla Bháin’s Diary, but towards the end of the show, I didn’t feel the impetus was there. Yes, I am about to take a stance very similar to Michael Oliver’s in this blogpost. If you’re easily offended or don’t want to taint the amnesia that everyone is usually hit by once a show is over, then I suggest you stop reading and move on to a happy clappy author.
Ragtime was a success- a massive success: three-quarter houses and standing ovations every night. Not bad for an undertaking like this. We received accolades from newspapers and peer reviews, and our principles were idolised and everyone carried themselves just that little bit straighter during the run. I have always maintained a raised eyebrow about this show, and unfortunately the amazing run did not assuage the disappointment I felt in the rehearsal process.
Like Michael, I cringed at the Ragtime Rage Time bringing sexy back call me maybe party in the USbloodyA posters. Our principles looked gorgeous, and the shooters setting was a particularly interesting touch. I have to ask – who were we trying to impress? The ever-present and apparently highly important party culture here at Duke? I am in full agreement that it was indeed an excellent marketing strategy, and if that was the goal – hats off to you. I think it undermined the “depth” we were searching for in the show and turned into something of a pantomime.
I am also disappointed at the ego that got in the way of artistic creation during the show. Every worker, a cog in motion? I think not. I don’t believe we stopped to think that the instruction and direction we were under from all three departments was from professionals. Our director runs the professional company and theatre house Manbites Dog and has been trained in methods that we probably can’t pronounce. Dr Kelly and Barbs are also masters in their field, and yet we expected them to pander to our incessant noise and grumbling. At 19,20,21 years old, we’ve seen it all. Jeff should ask us now while we still know everything. In the professional world, turning up drunk to a rehearsal would have you fired before you could hurl into a bucket. Why should our artistic directors have to put up with it?
It was a great show, we got the applause and we got the waiting crowds, and we got to take our bow in the spotlight. I think, however sad it may be, that the greatest lesson learned from this show is that if there is going to be another Hoofn’Horn/ Theatre Studies collaboration, we need to leave our egos at the door and come prepared to work and respect the people whose brilliance deserves at the very least our attention and gratitude.
Thank you to Jeff, Dr Kelly, Barbs, Jules, Ruthie, Torry, Dave, Kevin and the backstage crew for your undeserved patience and commitment.
I’d apologise for this post, but it’s the back door for Brigit.
Shop hours: walking for tech 1h30
Strike: Left the theatre at 10.20