Friday night was the last night of the Kintyre Drama Festival, held in the Grammar School down in Campbeltown. The drama club of which I’m a member had entered two plays for the competition, the farce I was in and a short, serious play which had been performed on Thursday night.
We arrived at our appointed time for a one-hour technical rehearsal. I should mention at this point that there is a time limit on the night for erecting the set of fifteen minutes and ten for striking it. We used our entire one hour slot just getting the set erected and had no time for a technical rehearsal or even to rehearse the opening curtain nor get the lights and music set … this all resulted in some members of the cast getting a little bit stressed over the whole affair, but I was an oasis of calm in the midst of despair. As they say, “if you can keep your head when all about are losing theirs, you obviously don’t understand the situation …”.
With some time to kill before we were all due to meet up for dinner before the show, I drove a chum down around Southend and on to the car park above the Mull of Kintyre lighthouse. A fantastically-clear day meant that we could see, from the car park, the north coast of Antrim and into Inishowen in County Donegal. The lighting effects were fantastic with shafts of light driving through dark clouds and picking out cliffs and islands across a gun-metal sea. Pity the wind was so fierce that we were driven back into the car after five minutes. We did see a golden eagle on the way up, which might have had something to do with the carcase of a sheep on the road nearby.
Back to Campbeltown, we were early for the restaurant, so were forced into the safety of a bar to take a stiffener. The meal was fun and the food was good and then we returned to the school for the evening.
The format for these drama competitions is that there are three plays on each night. Each team has 15 minutes to erect the set, 45 for the play itself and 10 to strike. Penalty points are awarded if these times are exceeded which are deducted from those awarded for presentation, production, acting etc..
We went in and watched the first play of the evening and went back to change during the second, because we were the last on. Amazingly, the set went up in ten minutes and without too many problems and then we were on. The lack of rehearsal did show, unfortunately, and although we got quite a few good laughs, there were some awkward pauses when those on stage were waiting for others to enter and move the show on.
In the end, we were adjudicated the winners for the evening, but didn’t collect any awards for the festival as a whole. Consolation was our sister team winning the festival and picking up an award for the best actor and they will go forward to the divisional finals in Largs in April – good luck to them.
It was late when we finally got home; I was back at half-past-one to find the walls gently rattling with Her Maj sound asleep. I joined here and loosened the windows from their fixings after a large dram to celebrate a good evening.