Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Obligatory lengthy end of project self-indulgent musings

I have to admit, I always wanted to be in a band.

The trouble was not being able to play anything, or having the patience to learn properly. I remember during A-Levels trying to muscle in on a group of mates who were starting a band - surely they could do with a third guitarist? Right? I could learn as we go along. Their refusal was absolute, and not unfair.

For the past 18 months I've been in a band, of sorts. We've had bust ups and tantrums, there have been tears and a lot of laughs, and I know we're all extremely proud of what we've achieved.

One of the greatest thrills for me was seeing the snowballing of this 'band'. What started as me shutting myself off from the sun in a cafe basement three days a week, for months, writing, and re-writing without notion of an outlet, somehow sprouts into a company of actors, musicians, choreographers, lighting designers - dedicated, skilled people who believe in the potential of the play became involved from up and down the UK, until during our rehearsal before the first Tabernacle Theatre show I was standing behind the sound-desk watching 20 people making final preparations, including seven actors and a six-piece orchestra, three of whom came down from Edinburgh specially to do those four shows.

A few days before the first Tabernacle show, the Director of the youth club where I lived and worked for 8 years turned up to see if he could put to rest his fears about the play leading to some real trouble in the 'Endz'. They were fair concerns - he has to deal with the reality of the lives we're portraying on stage. He left satisfied that the message is an important, relevant, and necessary one. But that wasn't the best thing to come out of his visit - he brought with him a young man whom I've known since I started working at the youth club; a young man who somehow managed to fall through the cracks of the educational system, and subsequently had difficulty finding work. It just so happened we were in desperate need of assistants to help move the set between scenes - a job that requires some mental dexterity and sure-footedness (and as far as I can tell goes largely un-sung). He totally nailed it, and continued to do a fantastic job for all the actual shows (that's him carrying a piece of set in the picture above).

The involvement of that young man from the South Kilburn estate was one of the greatest achievements of the whole production, but one I could never have predicted. And that's been the norm throughout this whole process; we prayed that God would be glorified through this show, and I believe He has used it for His glory. I've been constantly humbled by responses from people who find themselves moved because they find the play speaks to their own situation past or present. We joked nervously about the potential for negative reactions from members of the the actual estates featured in the play - but after the final show, two young guys both of whom in part inspired aspects of the characters in the play gave us their full and enthusiastic endorsement - which I count as the greatest praise Lost In Mozart has received.

There have been so many other great outcomes from producing this show, this blog entry is already long enough, but one of them is that Lost In Mozart will live on next year with a different theatre company who want to produce the play. I'll keep you posted on that one.

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