Written by 7:32 pm Stags and Hens • One Comment

The Last Dance

The music is fading out and the seats are empty. Stags and Hens is in the rear view mirror.

Saturday was the final night of the production. The celebrations went into the wee hours of Sunday morning but were much curtailed compared to previous productions thanks to our early start on Sunday to empty the show venue, the brilliant Watergate Theatre in Kilkenny. Pizza and an attempted post clearout pint helped us out, with the final moving and shifting of sets and materials taking place right up to 6pm today. Bar washing a few costumes, we’re done and dusted until our next production.

What can you say really?

It’s been a wild ride. You’ll gather comments from some of the coverage from posts during the week or the snippets we posted on Twitter during the running of the show. We began the post-mortem this afternoon and all in all, we got a lot of bums onto seats and people really enjoyed the show. While we work through the business end of things during the week, we’ve got some people to thank.

Firstly, we’d like to give our thanks to those of you who came out and saw the show. Stags And Hens was a different step for us… (commercial? well made play?) but we’re devious in that way (hell, we even dipped into Shakespeare earlier in the summer). People were beginning to paint the company as “shock theatre” following the blood and gore of Cannibal, the nudity and heroin addiction of Trainspotting and the heightened theatrical style, subject matter and sexual content of Heart Shaped Vinyl and Smitten but the surprise in this one comes from the fact that we chose a conventional play by a conventional and very well respected playwright. The show is just over 30 years old but given the time we’re living in, a lot of the content is still relevant. What’s more, we had a fantastic time in producing it and trying something a world apart from our previous productions. A big theatre like the Watergate needs a big audience and we were lucky to get so many people to fill the seats who wanted an entertaining night out. And we worked hard to deliver it. The feedback (both positive and negative) has been superb, further helping to shape the company and give us an insight into our audiences. So if you made the trip to the theatre (and some of you went two and three nights out of five), we thank you and genuinely hope you enjoyed the show as much as we did in bringing it to you.

After the audience comes the cast. They’re the ones who put the hours in. Myself (Ken), John, Paddy and Niamh busted our asses in producer capacity, Kev took command of the ship, dodged the fizzy icebergs and steered us to port, but outside of the committee, the show can’t go on without the cast. We were fortunate enough to be joined by two great female actors from Dublin in the form of Ciara Donegan and Roisin O’Reilly (playing Bernie and Linda respectively), along with familiar Devious faces in the forms of Stephen Colfer (since Cannibal), John Doran (Cannibal), Mairead Kiernan (Trainspotting), Lynsey Moran (Smitten), Eddie Murphy (Cannibal), Maria Murray (Cannibal, Trainspotting, Smitten), Geoff Warner Clayton (Smitten) and Paul Young (Trainspotting). We’ve been fortunate to have some good casts but this one gelled incredibly quickly and paid dividends.

Our thanks too to the Watergate TheatreGerry Cody, Dick Holland, Amy Dunne, Maurice Drohan and co. For a week each year they allow us into the theatre to do with what we need. We decorate the lobby, comandeer the green room, but overall, when you’re working in the Watergate space as we do you’re given a great sense of ownership over the space. Yes, there are definite rules you must work within but we’re given a home for the week and we treat it as such. They’ve been great to us and great supporters of Devious since 2006 and we look forward to seeing them again.

This we we also used the Watergate Theatre’s gallery space for an official launch of the first part of our 2009 programme of events. We revealed Shakespeare In Bits (June), Stags and Hens (July) and our Friends of Devious Theatre scheme. The scheme, based on a fund of €50 or €100 entitles someone to poster and programme packs, complimentary tickets for shows and the likes. The scheme is about to take off and get some more additions (a bonus to existing friends) but we would like to thank Cleere’s, Arthur Drohan (Ryan’s), Event Media, Tom & Alice Kiernan, Enda McEvoy, Gemma McGirr, Geoffrey & Alice Rose, Kilkenny County Council Arts Office and Rothe House for becoming Friends of Devious Theatre. We feel that while the launch of the program allows us to attract financial investment (however big or small) for the company, it is also a signal of our commitment to growth and continued development of a program of new, fresh and innovative theatrical productions.

Our thanks also go to the technical team working behind the scenes on Stags and Hens. Gerry Taylor has been a source of illumination for Cannibal, Trainspotting, Smitten and now Stags and Hens. We’re a good looking bunch of guys and gals, but Gerry has the ability to make anything look exceptional, whether it’s a sunrise in Colorado, a screamish gore-fest, a shitty toilet in the back of a bookies or a run down Liverpool nightclub. Let it be a lesson to other theatre companies – if you’ve got the budget, don’t skimp on your lighting. If you’ve not got the budget, then go get it. So Gerry, thanks again for lighting up our week (no pun intended).

Our art director for the show (and set designer) was Tommy Dowling who did some sterling work from the get go right through to leaving the Watergate yesterday evening; Colm Sheenan ran the ropes back stage as he did last year on Trainspotting; Jimmy Trigger (aka James Doran) had those club entrances timed to a T while Aileen Johnson and Jodie White made sure we looked “epic” in terms of makeup for the stags and hens each night.

While we’ll reserve a wee post for themselves, a special thanks to Culch.ie for plugging away, running the competitions and making the trip to KK for the final night of the show. Next production is on us (or maybe a round of pints in Kilkenny, whichever comes sooner).

We started rehearsals for Stags and Hens in Young Irish Film Makers before taking up residency with the lovely folks at Barnstorm Theatre on Church Lane in Kilkenny. Barnstorm, for those not in the know, are currently Kilkenny’s only professional theatre company and they’ve been incredibly generous and supportive to Devious since our inception, allowing us to take over their theatre from mid June right up to the weekend we moved into the Watergate. Our thanks to both groups for their help and support during the running of Stags and Hens.

Thanks also go to Niamh Moroney who started working on Stags and Hens as assistant director, producer and costume queen only to run away and join a Canadian circus for a few months, Philip Hardy, Trish Hayden Drenna, Ronan MacRaois, Vincent Dempsey, Mike Kelly, Angela Walsh, Kate St. John, Darragh Byrne, Dreamstuff Youth Theatre, Angela Barrett, Tess Felder, Edwina Grace, Brendan Maher and Start Magazine, Sean Hurley, Aisling Hurley, Mary Butler, Niamh Finn, Cathy Fitzgerald, Mycrofilms, Alan Slattery, Samuel French LTD, the Drama League of Ireland, St. Canice’s Credit Union, KilkennyMusic.com, The Field, The Kilkenny People, Kilkenny Alive, the Kilkenny Advertiser, Dee Gibney Properties (for arranging accommodation for our traveling cast members – life saver), KCLR 96FM, Newstalk, Tom Dunne, Paddy Dunne Snr, Sean and Gráinne Moroney, Conor Mahony, The Dowling family, Laurent Murray, Jack O’Leary, John Cleere, David Galster, Ross Costigan, Biff Walsh, Teagan Jermun, some man Eddie Brennan, Anthony Mahony and anyone else that was involved in the Stags and Hens process at some stage.

If I’ve forgotten anyone, it’s only through sheer tiredness now the production is over. Don’t be offended. It’s the internet, we can amend this kinda thing. Thanks and crew credits are also available in the programme and we’ll be publishing everything from it online during the week.

It’s been a wonderful ride, once again but while we spend the next few days analysing what’s gone before us, we’ve already got an incredible amount of wheels in motion with regards to upcoming productions. You’ve been warned.

On that note, like we did in the programme, we’ll leave you with a quote from our next show. We’ve been dropping these little clues for quite a few productions now. As I said, we’re devious in that way.

“It’s my dream to play a judge. But I’m too young. Maybe one day.”

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