And suddenly it’s day two. A year of planning of preparation and already the adverts in the papers are saying “finishes tomorrow night!”. After a long day’s journey to the festival club, seven shows opened or previewed and another four are going up tonight. The momentum is now unstoppable; you just have to feel the rhythm and roll with it. My motto is: keep moving forward without looking back and never ever look down!
A verifiable army of technicians, producers, artists and organisers are swarming about the city making things happen on a grand scale. The biggest show of all, of course, is On the Case from Leg’s on the Wall which will open in George’s Dock tonight. Eighteen thousand people will see this major spectacle over the next three days. Precise planning and a hugely skilled team led by Adrian Acosta, have pulled off the biggest technical challenge the festival has ever faced – and made it look easy!
With the big issues planned to precision, it’s about sweating the small things now. Crisis management in four acts. With 24 hours to go to the start of the Lost Theatres Project we discover we need permission from Dublin Bus as well as Dublin City Council to park the truck containing the generator – we have a contact in the Dublin Bus marketing department, who has a mobile number for Mark Kelly from Area Operations Control (great man!) and we’re sorted. What’s next? The set for Traces is delayed by American customs and may not arrive in time for their Late Late appearance tonight – Trinity College Sports centre kindly stepped in and supplied equipment, and it’s on to the next one.
And then a quick change into the suit and tie and a dash to the Gaiety to welcome the great and good to the official opening. Hibiki is stunningly beautiful and equally demanding. Reactions range from the ecstatic to total disdain. And this is what it’s all about. People talking about art, debating the merits of choices made in rehearsals rooms on the other side of the globe. The audience telling us what they really think – our marketing campaign coming to lurid life before our eyes.
Tonight I’m doing Laurie Anderson, Leg’s on the Wall and the Lost Theatres Project (The old
Smock Alley Theatre on Wood Quay will be illuminated with images from performances past between 8 & 11) and who knows what crisis will present themselves before then.
People love working on festivals! They are a drug and we’re their junkies. It’s one mad adrenalin rush for the next two and a half weeks – and we’re the highest people in town. We’re the theatrical equivalent of extreme sports fanatics. We’re religious devotees at the second coming. We’ve been up all night, but who feels tired? If you see us, buy us a drink.