What a journey it has been. THE CRUCIBLE has been playing to delighted audiences here in Galway since Monday and I return to the States in two days. It feels that time has flown by — and yet, also, as though we’ve been here in Ireland for months. In many ways, Ireland feels like a second home to several of us, and for me and Mark of course this city holds great significance and nostalgia. Today I took a field trip by the church where we were married and was overwhelmed with memories and a profound sense of gratitude for my life.
This group is the largest we’ve ever toured to Ireland and I have been amazed at each person’s positivity, talent, and overall commitment to this production. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t quite terrified when this all began – the show seemed an impossible task at the beginning (so many people, WHERE WILL I PUT ALL THESE PEOPLE ON STAGE?). I remember tossing and turning at night thinking about the amount of work ahead, the hours I knew we’d spend grinding out the details, my own insecurities about helming the production, concerns about everyone getting along … all of these things would keep me awake. And now, here we are. The tour, to me, is a success in every way that the Ireland tour can be – my cast and crew are having a great time, the production is true to the script and as powerful as I had dreamt it would be, and the audiences are enthusiastic and vocal. We have been able to spend time with our dear Michael Diskin as well as many other Galway friends. For all of these things, I am so joyful.
(The weather has been … Irish.)
As many of you have heard by now, we had a very upsetting incident (and a first for the Keegan Ireland tour) at the Atlanta airport when one of our company was stopped at the boarding gate because the flight attendant thought his passport had been “tampered with” (note to self: NEVER TAPE A PASSPORT BACK TOGETHER). Our dear Brad was refused admission onto the plane — after most of us had already boarded – so we couldn’t even talk with him or say goodbye or make plans for his safe transport to Ireland. It was an enraging and lousy feeling. Thankfully, Brad rejoined us on Wednesday (after spending the night in the airport, getting a new passport re-issued in Atlanta, and getting on a plane that Tuesday afternoon) and I can’t express what a relief it was to see his face in that rehearsal hall in Galway. Hugs all around – big ones.
Some of us have spent our free days walking around the town, a few among us have logged hours online at our American “day jobs,” and many have taken day trips to Connemara and the Cliffs of Moher. Several others have been contributing to the Irish economy in a range of ways …. It really is a great shopping city.
Over the course of the week, we’ve been joined in Galway by a number of our Keegan family –company members and friends, as well as spouses and better halves of several cast members, have landed in this fair city to join the fun – we’ve grown exponentially as a group over the last few days!
As a few others have mentioned, the excitement of having different actresses joining us in each city in Ireland has been a remarkable experience. The girls are so talented and focused, and just as lovely and mature as you could imagine. Tonight, I had dinner with the eight young ladies (and their chaperones) who will join the cast in Cork and Kilkenny – we had a meal to “meet and greet” and this evening they’re watching the show. Tomorrow, we will rehearse with them from 10 am – 5 pm before closing in Galway tomorrow night and loading out the set, costumes, props, etc. On Sunday, as I’m heading to the airport, my compatriots will be travelling to Kilkenny, where they will load in and rehearse with the four Kilkenny girls a bit Sunday evening. Monday, they’ll do final adjustments on the set, rehearse a bit with the girls in the afternoon, and open. It is very painful to leave at this point, though I am sure the actors are ready for me to GET OUT OF HERE AND STOP GIVING THEM NOTES. Ah well, as every director knows, letting go can be the hardest part. And it’s time. The show is wonderful and I’m very proud of what we have all accomplished.
One last thank you to everyone for all of their hard work, focus during long days, patience with me and each other, and kindness to our young actors. I could not be working alongside a finer group of people. Have an amazing rest of your journey!
p.s. Moment of zen: standing outside the theater with my husband after the show, a woman leaving the theater (picture the sweetest Irish grandmother you can dream up) walks up to Mark, wags her finger in his face and says “I thought they HUNG you!” She then starts giggling and clapping, calling back to us as she walks away, “Brilliant show! Just brilliant!” God bless the Ireland tour.