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Backstage bants


Diary of a homebird
Ciara Galvin

FOR four years I treaded the boards with Ballinrobe Musical Society, but in recent times I decided to take a sabbatical as it were. It was the camaraderie that drew me to the society and not my love for singing and definitely not my love for dancing.
The sense of collective involvement was fantastic. But, with my location and life plan changing more often than Trump’s political appointments, I thought it best to hang up my stage shoes for awhile. This year I decided to cross over to the dark side. Literally. (You can’t see a thing.) I joined the ‘backstage crew’.
I’m a sucker for a free T-shirt, and hey, I’d still get the buzz of being on stage … between scenes. And it’d be easier than falling over myself trying to remember dance moves, right?
Wrong. Backstage is akin to the engine of the car; if it doesn’t work, the beautiful exterior isn’t worth a sh**e, to put it simply.
House exteriors changing into living rooms, public houses turning into garden terraces – as Pops would say, “It’s a marvellous feat of engineering.” Marvellous indeed, but unfortunately these pieces of set and props don’t move by themselves. Cue, the muscles, stage left!
Like a long line of bouncers waiting to refuse a patron from a nightclub, we lined up beside the stage, ear pieces in and walkie talkies switched on. It’s incredibly organised and hi-tech.
However, being so ‘switched on’ lead me to a few blushes last week during the society’s staging of the incredibly popular ‘My Fair Lady’. While having ‘the chats’ with a friend, I was blissfully unaware that my walkie talkie was switched on. Twelve male and two female crew members could hear all of the private conversation.
“You might want to turn off your mic,” said one crew member.
Another graciously said, “You couldn’t hear exactly what you were saying, it was muffled.” I fear this was an attempt to save my blushes. Too late.
Needless to say, I ensured the walkie talkie was firmly switched off for the rest of the week when engaging in any private conversations.
Furniture removal is now another feather I can add to my hat, as myself and props woman extraordinaire Gwen were in charge of placing some wobbly furniture front and centre. Despite almost killing her on a number of occasions by dragging a chaise longue across stage with her trailing behind, we successfully made it to the end of the week without many mishaps.
Being off stage is great for one major reason: You’re no longer the target. You see some harmless pranks tend to happen backstage … A policeman with a permanent glow thanks to Cocoa Brown tan, a painting including said glowing policeman and perhaps some water guns.
Whereas other years I would walk past the ‘men and women in black’ hoping I’d make it through the chorus number without an ear full of water, I now had the power. Muhahaha.
You know what they say, if you can’t beat them, join them. Just don’t talk about them within earshot!

In her fortnightly Diary of a Home Bird column, Ciara Galvin reveals the trials and tribulations of a twenty-something year old still living with her parents.

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