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Getting My Arse Kicked

Today’s blog is written by Kari Goetz, Mairead in The Lieutenant of Inishmore.

About 45 minutes after the lights went down on last night’s show, I had already kicked an enthusiastic 16 year old fan and her boyfriend out of the backstage, washed the majority of the blood off the set walls, cleaned the chair where I had only 50 minutes prior shot my (actual) boyfriend in the back of the head, rinsed off two bloody cat props, wiped down boots, jackets and guns, and taken a bird bath in a plastic bucket with a dubious rag because the blood dried on my skin was starting to itch. It was then that I realized something:
The show is fecking killing me.
Jobsite has been really fortunate to get a lot of press on this show. I would be lying if I didn’t admit to having scores of Creative Loafings in my house. Our entire fridge is covered with the reviews and photos and posters.
Matt and I are a lucky couple. We get to play two of the best written lovers since Bonnie and Clyde. We are also fortunate to be two actors who get along very well during a show. Granted working together means sacrificing things like actual meals and clean laundry, but the experience has been amazing. Our relationship has only gotten better since we started working on Inishmore. We’ve worked really hard on our characters and have enjoyed making out in front of groups of strangers.
I point out all the good stuff so that this post doesn’t sound like a bitch. I know how lucky I am, so does every member of the cast. We all know that the work we are doing is really against all laws of stagecraft and common sense. We relish the fact that only Jobsite Theater is crazy enough to produce this show in a black box of 100 seats. I could go on and on about how proud we are of this show.
But its fecking killing us.
I’ve talked to some of the other actors – guys who have been on stage for the better part of their lives (hell, I’ve been doing this professionally for 23 years) and we all agree – we’ve never been so goddamn tired in our lives.
We try to rationalize it, we try to understand where our fatigue is coming from – the show is only 90 minutes when you get down to it. Half the cast isn’t even in the last 20 minutes (bloody body parts stand in for them). It’s not like there’s even any hard-core physical stage combat in the show! But still, we find ourselves at the end of the night, the set sparkling clean, the rigs rinsed, the cats bathed, the guns stripped, the laundry picked up by Katrina (who’s water bill is going to be INSANE this month fyi), and we just look at each other and say some variation of “We’re getting to old for this shite.”
Then we hobble to our cars, talk of sore backs, knees, bruises that are coming up for no reason and return to our homes so we can have strange blood soaked dreams.
Our fatigue and stress resonate down to the work and the stress and the uncertainties this show has built into its very soul. The Lieutenant of Inishmore is a dark comedy and part of the joke is played on the performers. We are in constant fear of blood rigs misfiring (they have), guns misfiring (they have), guns not firing (they have), getting a mouthful of blood and swallowing that nasty stuff (we have), the issues that come with hanging a live actor upside-down for a 20 minute scene (we still worry). Three weeks into the show and four weeks into running the show with full special effects I still go out there saying a prayer that the show doesn’t come down around us.
(At all times we are very safe – no worries there – but one missed cue and the next thing you know I’m covered in blood and nobody fired a weapon – whoops!).
I’ve never worked so hard on a show. That is the sentiment of every member of the Inishmore cast and crew. Across the board, I’ve never worked harder. I never worked so hard on an audition. I never worked so hard to be off book even before rehearsals began. I never worked so hard in rehearsals to get everything “just right.” I’ve never willingly stood for countless blood batches to be exploded on my face to ensure accuracy and consistency. I’ve never cared how a gun worked before. I’ve never pondered during a show how many bullets are in a clip and if a gun misfires or double fires should I have ammo hidden in my costume to try to save the ensuing gun battle? I’ve never taken a shower with a bloody stuffed cat. I never want to again.
We don’t get to see you after the show. This is hard on all of us as actors. One of the traditions of Jobsite is to head out to the front of the theater and hang out with our patrons. Answer questions, tell stories, explain plot points (sometimes a very awkward conversation), and just overall bask in your appreciation of our work.
This time – we’re stuck in the theater with a rag in our hand trying not to bust ass on the slippery blood that is pooled on the ground. I can personally attest – it is not the same rewarding experience.
We’re tired, we’re sore, we’re working our asses off, and half the time, we don’t even know that you’re there because we don’t get to see you afterwards.
Please come back into the theater and stop by the stage – we’ll be there in our work clothes and we’d love to say hi and talk to you. We promise not to get blood on you.
Extra points if you bring us Advil and booze.
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