Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Day Twelve: Lurgan - Town Hall Meeting

The view outside our window this morning.
I make it a habit during long journeys never to log what will happen, but only what has happened. In that way I don't repeat myself ... or have to explain how something I said was going to happen, didn't.

Yesterday was not filled with the luck of the ... there were unfortunate incidents.

 While everything eventually worked out, there were difficulties getting the computer to recognize the projector. BBC Belfast cancelled our radio interview. And I seriously bonked my head on one of the low-doorways in our cottage, leaving a nasty egg on my crown.

I found a fairy princess in the garden.
Having said that, we had a very fine performance at Lurgan Town Hall. Steven brought his teenage son Matt in to take care of the computer difficulties (of course.) It was the first old-fashioned "stage" I have performed on here, instead of looking up at the audience, or straight out, I actually had to look down at them.

There were some seventy people in attendance. I have grown used to audiences not laughing, at all, at anything, during the performances this week. Maybe it is because of the language barrier (that ironic American humor, you know.) Maybe it is because of my delivery, who knows.

Last night, however, they were laughers. Not huge, belly-laughers, no one does that, not that kind of show, but they did laugh appreciatively. I might make some kind of sweeping observation about the Irish knowing something about dark humor, but, well, I guess I just did.

Feeding the ducks at the nature center at Lough Neagh
There was this one woman in the front row, she had these great glasses, she looks just like Toni's friend Andrea from New York (Toni said the same thing!) She was seated right in front of the phone, and was cracking up at the muzak - when "Lonely Boy" came on she was my anchor, she thought that was hysterical and I just smiled at her for several seconds before giving her the "I love this song," line.

Of course, I knew it was going to be a good performance when Steven introduced it as "Ah Heet Thass - a plee wi'oot tha baybeh."

One of the most interesting questions we received was, "What did you hope to get out of doing this?" Toni and I talked about it later, I think she was concerned at first that it was an accusation, but I wasn't. One thing that was great was that it was a question we could pass onto Steven, who joined us on stage. He had the chance to share the idea SANDS had for bringing me here, to raise awareness of the issue, and of their organization.

Toni also got to speak about the kind of fact-finding work we have been able to do, hearing other people's stories and making observations about the state of health care in different parts of the country - ours and theirs.

And for my part, I took it back to the beginning - what did I hope to get out of doing this, meaning writing it. Which was nothing but my own need to tell this story, as a theater artist. At first, I had no idea that this play would take me to such places. I didn't envision it being used as an educational tool, for nurse and doctors, certainly not to be a touchpoint for the parents of other dead children. I wanted to see if I could make my personal story into a good play.

# # #

Zelda came walking into the bathroom with a pair of underpants on her head. "I'm a butthead!" she declaimed.

"Hmn," I mused, "who made up that joke?"

"I did," Zelda proested, leaving the bathroom. "Kelly and I made it up."

If my four year-old is going to use correct grammar, she is allowed the occasional vulgarity.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am always the last to find out about these things...