Saturday 15th marked the grand finale of our two week show run. Even now, it still hasn’t sunk in that it’s all over, our actors have finished up in Belfast and will soon move on to Newcastle, or that my particular walk to the West of the city will now return to a weekly event – and even that will dwindle before the year is out.
The comedown has been a mixed bag, starting with the toll it took on my body. For the newbies among you, I have previously spoken about the fallout from my masters and, among many things, the physical toll it took on my body and my health. Akin to CFS/ME symptoms, the last two years or so have been a perpetual cycle of viruses, lethargy, and regaining lost weight. The ratio of of energy expended:recuperation period was never the same twice, and I think I initially just pushed on through until it became impossible to go one day without crashing. Even as late as April this year was testing the water on how much I was capable of doing. So this was basically another exercise (including actual exercise) in pushing my energy boundaries again, and while I had a great time, my body hates me almost as much as the raked staged it performed on.
During the run, and even now, I would receive wonderful messages from people who had seen the show. While it was great knowing I had familiar faces in the audience not there through my influence, not finding out they were there until long after I’d left the building made me a wee bit paranoid – it’s like people didn’t want to see me! (Obviously a joke, the feedback has been brilliant).
Then there’s been discussion about the production itself among several of my writerly alumni, something I long anticipated from them, but was surprised to see next to no mention of it within subsequent reviews. I had made the decision well in advance of rehearsal to switch my brain to performer/observer mode. Because this was a community production, many of the artistic decisions were made before anything was put in front of us – in short, I understood my role. Now in a position of reflection, there’s plenty to process and digest, and much of that happened the night before our finale. This was not a perfect production. There were many flaws, primarily with the unedited text itself, but the thing I’m most proud of is what David, the Artistic Director, has chosen to do: daring to bring the community into the Lyceum. With so many plates to spin, this decision is the one I’m calling the game-changer – it shouldn’t be “daring”, but in the context of the Lyceum it is. Hugely. And I have so much respect for that.
So, this’ll be my last post on the wumin, and it’s been one hell of a ride. Fingers crossed for a return!