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Tour Memories #12 - Ireland!

So this weekend we had a full end of week bonanza of new venues, spread across Ireland. There can't be many memories associated with a place that you're yet to visit and so, for tonight's post, we've asked our previous cast and companies to collate some memories from venues right across the Emerald Isle that we either wouldn't have visited this year, or stopped visiting a while ago for whatever reason. As you might expect, this threw up some odd memories indeed, read about them below:

Daniel G – Swing in the Willows

"I remember starting Act 1 of Swing in the Willows with the speech from Act 2.

Eric and James racing on to correct me with the right words, looking to the back of the audience to see the rest of the cast just pointing and laughing. I think that was somewhere in Ireland, I'm not sure... That was the one we had to herd an Emu back into it's pen before the audience arrived..."

Colm McElwee – Wyrd Sisters (Altamont)

"My earliest memory of an OTG show was not in any of the venues Connor mentioned but, of course in Altamont, the first Irish tour in 1996 I think. It was Wyrd Sisters and Dan was something bizarre in a black body suit, a feather boa and a barrel. It was when he lifted up the barrel for his exit, sporting a lovely pair of pink fluffy slippers that I realised "these people aren't like 'normal' performers."

Nothing since has changed my mind about that."

Aimee Marnell – Unknown

"This is not venue specific (or even for Ireland!) just memory for laughs... In the break post-UK/pre-Ireland, we could all take home costumes for a wash. I was driving home from town one day and spotted some very familiar garments airing out midway down Duke Street... Harrison and Jess' costumes!"

* Photo below!

Aimee Marnell – A Midsummer Night's Dream

"Also in Charlie’s big house at Derreen, where they let us sleep inside instead of camping because the rain was so bad, we were invited into the kitchen party afterwards (where I got very, very drunk) and Tomo found me alone in the kitchen with a massive wheel of cheese and a beer and it took me a good 10 mins to realise he had entered the kitchen cause I was so focused on eating this cheese, and then we both decided to hunt down and consume the remainder of the hog roast... good times!

And then Phil had to switch seats with me on the bus the next morning cause I needed to be near the window for fear of vomiting ... not so good times.

And I distinctly remember Phil coming into our room the next morning and taking one look at me absolutely DEAD in bed and going “Woah F***ing hell, you look rough!” Thanks mate."

Bryony Thomas – Unknown

"Can't remember which tour but when Dan told us all A LOT of times to be very careful because there was a BIG hole in the middle of the stage and then proceeded to walk straight into it."

Rob Kav – Unknown (Lismore)

"A random Irish man shouting at us in the morning “Your Princess is dead” the day Princess Di was killed. We were just grateful it wasn’t the cast member who was playing a Princess that year.

(Not in a “Ding dong the Witch is dead” way but more shit, this has happened. If you get me.)"

Andy B – Treasure Island

"I think it was Treasure Island that we, naturally, had an early start to catch the ferry over to Ireland. A long day ensued, lots of people dozing and we finally arrived at the Dublin campsite. Stew kindly drove the minibus allllll the way in to town to get us pizza as we put up the tent. After a while people realised we were down a cast member and starting asking “where is Neal?” Unbeknownst to us, Neal (who could sleep ANYWHERE) was still asleep on the minibus and he awoke to find himself alone and locked in a minibus in a strange street. Last thing he’d remembered was driving off the ferry with a bus full of people. Classic Neal."

Colm M - Witches Abroad

"Dan has already written about Corona North and the trough incident, where she kindly offered the use of said water source for the cast who were camping in the field. I should stress that this was indeed a working trough, used regularly by cattle and horses when the field wasn't otherwise occupied by travelling thespians.

I mention this story again because it illustrates how, in the space of a day, Off the Ground went from bovine quality water to being plied with alcohol in Corona's drawing room. It only took one performance in a cold, sodden garden to achieve this remarkable transformation.

You have to know that, for Corona, actors were a completely unknown class of articles and, while she was definitely not a snob, was more used to attending the opera where the performers didn't habitually loiter within tents. As far as she was concerned, Off the Ground were merely badly-dressed day labourers with pretentions.

Mind you, once this cast of ne'er do wells found themselves, virtual caps in hand, inside the 'big house', they were charm personified, and the rest is OTG history.

The following year there was to be no camping for OTG at Altamont. We had spent almost a year transforming a post-war nissen hut into student accommodation and its first proper guests were to be said horde of actors with their new-found respectability. What was mind-boggling to me was seeing Corona spend an entire evening 'set dressing' as it were, putting out clean towels, flowers, pictures, even bleeding doilies in order to make the place nice. Trust me, lovely and all as she was as a person once you got to know her, this was not normal behaviour. Somehow OTG brought out the dormant hotelier mother in her.

So OTG came, performed the underwhelming Witches Abroad to about 250 people and were to be the only group to ever stay in that accommodation. Shortly after Corona died the Poison Dwarf™ of my previous missive had the place demolished, new toilets, sinks, beds, wiring , doilies and all. What that finally says about Off the Ground, God only knows."


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