I am ashamed. Ashamed and disgraced.
After so diligently writing a blog entry after each and every rehearsal and performance of the pantomime, I get to the last night - the last night! - and I ... don't.
And a week goes by, and the clean up happened, and the debrief session where we ran through the good, the bad and the ugly (SEEWHATIDIDTHERE) happened, and the post-panto-party happened, and the blog still doesn't.
And another week goes, and another, and now it's like a month after the fact, and ... like I say, ashamed and disgraced.
I don't know why I couldn't compel myself to just write one more. It would have been done then. Now my pantoblog experience will always be incomplete. Maudlin woe and things.
Never mind. A brief rundown, for old times' sake, bit of reflection, and move on.
The final night was just fantastic. Full house, everything went right, and nothing went wrong. I was really able to just enjoy it - which is always good! And my favourite, favourite line finally ... finally ... FINALLY got a laugh. I celebrated. Got a full-cast-in-costume photo on the stage during the interval too, which was great.
It was great. "It'll all come together in the end", they kept saying, for months. They were right. It did. I felt a lot of pride. Not in a "look what I DID, it's all MINE" way, but just because I'd put a fair bit into it all, and people were enjoying it. And that's very a very nice feeling indeed. I think I prefer it to actually being on stage.
After the last performance, I Went Out. This doesn't happen often. I should rectify that (I haven't Been Out since then. Shut up.) It wasn't for very long, anyway. The place was loud and sticky and I resent having to pay to get in to places. Most of the people I knew had gone by then anyway.
Ha. I'm old.
The Sunday was the clean-up, where all the props had to be taken back to their storage place, the set had to be dismantled, the stage re-painted, the wipes taken down, the costumes packed up... it was like we'd never been there at all. Kind of sad. :(
The Monday was the 'post-mortem'. Ordinarily they go the way of a wildly tangential argument about the selling of ice creams or some rubbish, but this was pretty positive! I had to speak, and complimented everyone present, and they all seemed quite positive about it all too. A few members and veterans have been really kind with me about it - Little Johnny the Kid and his family, for example, and Red, who had some very nice words for me on the last night that I will try not to forget.
I brought with me on the Monday one of the giant 'movie size' posters that had been in the window of the Playhouse (not actually in the window, as such, this particular one never made it out there so it was mint condition) - Yee-Haw, How-Yee and I arranged to nab them once they'd been used so they didn't get thrown out. I wanted it to be signed by everybody, but foolishly didn't have the idea to do it until the day after the final show. D'oh. (I eventually did get it signed by just about everybody - the Sheriff is notable by his absence, but he hated every minute of being in it anyway, so maybe that's for the best. Bloody good performance, though. Daniel Plainview eat your blood-pumping chest organ out.)
There's a picture of the signed poster above - it doesn't give even a modicum of the size of the actual thing, though - it's bloody COLOSSAL. You can't see any of the messages on there, either (some of the cast wrote some nice messages, some put their favourite line ... it's a nice memento and it's a shame that I'd probably have to spend about £8000 to frame it because it's so massive). But it gives you an idea, sort of.
Meanwhile, I was back at work after two weeks off (don't get me started on work. Argh.) but had to think up awards to ... well, award people with at the post-panto-party, design and write the certificate for said awards, print 'em, and then burn and tea-stain them so they'd look Wild West-y. I managed to do this (not that they were very clever or anything, but you know) and find some cheapie medals from Sainsbury's to go with them. Awards! I called them the Canny-On Frontier Awards, or COFAs.
That's not a pun. I didn't think about it that much, unfortunately.
The week following was weird. I missed the thing pretty badly. It was strange. I did pick up a copy of the DVD, which I have not yet got round to watching. It's not just the blog I've neglected. Ashamed, etc.
The following Saturday, the party, was really fun. It took place in a Masonic Hall, of all places (not in the temple itself, sadly, though we did get to have a look round it. Fascinating, it was). There was karaoke. I did not participate in the karaoke. I do not do karaoke. Beatles Rock Band, yes, karaoke, no no no no no no. No.
The awards were doled out, and appreciated by most everybody for about fifteen seconds or so, the poster signage was completed (even if the Dame's signature ended up smudged - buggershitbastardcrap) and I received a couple of nice gifts. The main one, from the whole cast and crew, was a Friends membership to the Tyneside Cinema, which gets me two free tickets (already used), discounts on tickets for a year, and other stuff besides. Very nice. One from the photographer, a set of four fancy photo montages/collages (delete as appropriate). And one from How-Yee, a miniature 'Keep Calm And Canny-On' poster - he kept the massive version he did that was part of the Saloon set.
Keep Calm And Canny-On? Oh yeah, we went there. No pun too cringeworthy.
Bad example, actually, that's a tremendous pun.
Generally, the party was a nice atmosphere. Duke Wayne even said it was one of the best pantos he's done. He's lying, but it was a very nice thing to say (especially as he's The Ex's dad ... awkward!) But it was also The End, Officially. That was it. Done. Gone. Finished.
How do I feel now?
Still kind of miss it, I guess. Not relieved or glad it's over, but happy that it's done. They sound like the same thing, but they're not. Proud that people like it, as I mentioned - I've had quite a few people who were in the audiences tell me they enjoyed it. Which seems a good point to thank the various friends who came to see it at different points throughout the week. I won't deploy shout-outs here, firstly because not all of them are on Twitter, therefore they won't all see the link to this blog, and even if they did, that's no guarantee they'd actually read the bastard, and secondly, because you all got shout-outs during the actual show!
But thank you for coming. Really, it was very good of you.
So, I'm happy, very happy indeed. It's one of the best things I've done, and it's just so weird to think that a little idea I had driving home from work one day could result in what we got during the performance week. It was great.
Were the problems? Hell fucking yes there were. Would I do it again?
The fact I hesitate there worries me. Before the first performance I'd have given an instantaneous "hell fucking no", and I'd still veer towards that ... but the rush you get when It All Comes Together In The End ... that's pretty powerful stuff.
I'm still going with 'no' for now.
In the right circumstances, a very tenuous 'maybe'. But you know, I've had my chance. My Great Idea - to do a Western - has happened. Whatever else there could be, it would have to top this one, and there's nothing I can think of that'd do that right now. Therefore, no. This one was pretty damned good if I'm allowed to say so myself, and I don't reckon I could write or direct something equal to it.
Besides, not to be all Christopher Nolan or anything, but if I directed another panto, I'd have to have written it as well.
So no. I keep saying that, then thinking of 'but if's. Like 'but if there was no sound, lighting, mics or anything else technical...' (Ha. Ha. Ha.)
No! No, I wouldn't do it again!
A play, however...
... I have thought up a couple of sequels for a short play I did last June. The three put together would be three one-act plays, and therefore an evening's entertainment. It's tempting ... but I've got to write them first. That requires finding time and the motivation to knock them out. I usually get that motivation in the car or when I'm far away from a computer, which is typical.
Work is shit at the moment. Shit shiiiiiiit SHIT. I don't want to think about it at the moment, but it's ... kinda covered that with all the 'shit' in the last sentence, really, didn't I?
Happily, I know I can complain about work all I like in my blog, because I only advertise it on Twitter, and hardly anybody I know uses Twitter. Work did try and follow me once, actually, but they were swiftly blocked. I don't complain about work on Facebook. Too dangerous.
Yeah, anyway, shit. I've written 60,000 words and counting of resources for my guides this upcoming year (that's like a book if you put it all together!), but all my line manager ever tells me to do is find ways to pay them for fewer hours. SHIT. SHIIIIIIT.
The Big Boss is gone. There's a New Man In Charge. I have to show him round tomorrow. Time to make a good impression, or am I on borrowed time regardless, or is he, or ... shit. I don't know.
Panto has caused me to neglect my reading recently. I think I only read one book in the whole of January (No Country For Old Men - very good, and the ending makes a lot more sense than it did in the film). I've eased myself back into it this week, via some Walking Dead graphic novels (I've read the first 6 now) and into Peter Snow's 'To War With Wellington', which I bought in Cheltenham last October and have only just now got properly into. It's very good. Very interesting, good sense of narrative, and easy to follow.
Saw some films. King's Speech: very good indeed. True Grit: bloody MARVELLOUS. Amazing. See it NOW. Never Let Me Go: :'( . Superb, though. Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield ... both excellent. And finally, Socal Network: astounding. So, so good. My pick for Best Picture at the Oscars, and it would totally deserve it.
That's all I've got for now, actually.
Thanks for waiting, blog. I'll try not to neglect you again, but don't be disappointed if I do, okay? I am useless. Ask anyone.