On Friday 20th we all made our way to the recording studio near Kells. I was there early to get a feel for things. I was the director, after all, and I passed out a ton of biscuits and cans of cola. Martin Quinn is the owner of JAM studios and the boss where sound is concerned and he provided a large pot of tea. A number of phone calls for directions later and eventually everyone arrived. Well, all but one person. Apparently there was a mix-up and I was one actor short.
Fortunately, John ‘Banjo’ Quinn agreed to play the role of Alex, the junior keeper and we set to. I redistributed the smaller roles he’d been scheduled to perform and I ended up playing the role of Mama. But that was okay because I couldn’t forget my lines becauses I read from the cript. Disappointingly, there was no ‘On Air’ sign. And yes, I know.
All the actors were superb, and I give Banjo a lot of credit because he only took on the role the day of the recording. Listen to the play and hear for yourself.
There was a live reading of the play at Witch’s Hill that same evening. The backdrop that you see was painted by the talented Margaret McKenna.
I’ll give the name of the characters in the order they are seated in the picture. Lady Invincible is the disembodied voice of the lighthouse and she is on the far left, out of sight. She is played by Dorothy Grace Laity and I think you can just see the script she’s holding. Her picture below is in a very different role. She also plays Miss Emily and partners the Captain as the play progresses.
On the bench is Christophe Lombardi who plays Captain Sebastian. The picture here is in his role as Edward lst on the Channel 5 show Secrets of Great British Castles.
Next to him is Rob Forshaw who plays Marty Steele, Assistant Keeper. Rob is head honcho of Footsteps NI, a theatre company that offers a full range of services: Historical Costumed Interpretation, Museum Services and drama workshops throughout the UK and Ireland as well as theatre in education and such a hell of a lot more. Check out the web page for the full list. http://www.footstepshistoricalinterpretation.co.uk/about-us
Rob also played Edison Light and couldn’t have been more different from his other role.
Beside Rob, is Nick Young, who plays the Principal Keeper. A veteran ligthouse keeper who has seen it all in his 37 years on the lighthouse. Later in the play, he plays a junior to the 1st man.
And last but not least the inestimable John ‘Banjo’ Quinn. As I said previously, he played the role of Alexander Cross, the junior keeper, sometimes called a ‘snotty’. Then he later played 1st man.
I’m not in the picture because I was a voice at the back. The voice of Mama calling for her darling daughter, Emily. Time to sleep, dear.
And Martin, our soundman, did a spectacular job mixing in the sound effects that I had provided and completed the first draft on the same day. It was then my responsibility to listen, test and suggest changes. I’d used a site recommended by him to seek and find the sound effects I wanted. This was a ‘blast’ as Dorothy said. Everyone worked so hard and I think the play was a superb success. Certainly the small but discerning audience thought so.
The play was read by the actors at the Witch’s Hill heritage centre, art gallery and tearoom. The magnificent backdrop was painted by the talented Margaret McKenna, artist and joint owner of the centre. We had a raffle too and a number of people, shops and organisations showed their support by offering something as a raffle prize. So here is my thank you list:
Ramor Theatre, Millbrook Foods, Cloud 9, Tiger Lily, Brigid Walshe, Audrey Hayes, Crover House, Witch’s Hill.
There has been some talk too about developing this radio play for the stage. I have ideas and I need to get stuck into the writing. It will be useful to jog my memory about lighthouses so I will go back to my research material. I’ll let you know how that goes.
In the meantime, I am trying to save like crazy so that I can copy the mastered tape on to CD’s to sell in aid of the charity Irish Dogs for the Disabled. More about this charity can be found on their webpage and facebook.