Last night was the first night of our 4-night run of "Heatstroke" and I'm pleased to say that it was a hit with the audience. The cast of 6 did me proud, as did the backstage team of Keith (Stage Manager) Josh (Sound & Lighting) Amy, Shannon & Steve (Front of House).
It was the first time on the stage at Bilton for two members of the cast, Scott and Adam - and I was so pleased for them both when they obviously slotted into the production so well as though it had always been a part of their lives. Eloise was also making her debut in an adult production (as opposed to a Youth production, which she is normally a part of) and she rose to the occasion, playing to the audience. I was particularly pleased that they all managed to wait for the laughter to die down a bit before delivering their next line, making sure the audience didn't miss anything.
As ever, the Tuesday night audience consisted mainly of members from various old people's homes across the city - several different Lions clubs organise trips for them and we have always been grateful for their support - even if they do imagine they are watching TV instead of seeing a live performance. We have had some hilarious comments from audience members previously - they don't realise that the cast can actually hear what they say out loud and that it could be distracting.
The funniest remark I had was when one old dear saw me in the foyer and it then dawned on her where she was. "Oh, we're at that place, aren't we? What's it called? The theatre - oh, I thought we were going somewhere else." "Oh, didn't you realise you were coming to watch a play?" I asked her. "No, I thought we were at that other place" she replied. "Oh well, it's a nice surprise for you then, isn't it?" I asked her. "Oh, yes, I've been coming here for years, we never miss them - I've seen you before - the daughter, sister, mother, wife." That was funny enough, but at the interval when I happened to see her again in the foyer, she asked me how my Mother was. "Oh, do you know my Mother?" I said, thinking it must be someone I'd not met before who knew my Mum from her involvement in a choir or such-like. "Well, I've seen her lots of times, on the stage here - blonde hair." Then it slowly dawned on me - and the chap standing next to her said "No, Ethel, that's not really her Mother, is it?". I explained that my Mother didn't go on the stage and then she said "Oh, no, I don't know your Mother" as she trundled off with her tea and biscuits....
I was so nervous prior to the start of the play, it was as though I was acting in it, but thankfully I was relaxed enough to enjoy the performance sitting in the audience. It's so much nicer to watch something you've all created after months of rehearsing with an appreciative group of people. A director's job is quite lonely at times, but last night was just the opposite. I'm looking forward to the rest of the week now (and the curry afterwards on the last night!).