A Fish in Time Makes Nine (hundred)

I was going for a pun off of “a stitch in time saves nine” but I think I’m still pretty sleep-deprived, so please excuse the poor joking reference to the multiplication of the loaves and fishes.

Well, we’ve managed to pull through to reach the finish line. The mountain top. The light at the end of the tunnel. The distant shore. The opening (and closing) night. Yes, somehow the last week flew by in a blur and we had, if I do say so myself, an incredibly successful performance last night. But first, I want to take you back about a week and share my blog post from then which will highlight the process a bit better. I guess in order to have a smooth performance, the wrinkles need to be ironed out first. And though the performance went swimmingly (more about that later), I find that few people outside of the cast are often aware of the crazy preparation process.

So I present to you, the wrinkles:

Lately, just about everything has been about the Passion Play. The other night I fell asleep holding a fake fish for the “feeding of the 5000” scene. Some people sleep with stuffed animals. Apparently I sleep with wooden fish covered in tin foil. Zazu’s voice comes to mind at the moment, “didn’t your mother ever tell you not to play with your food?” Hmm…perhaps she did, but I don’t recall her cautioning me against 40 winks next to a pretend specimen of a food I don’t even like. So I guess we’re okay. Aside from Passion Play props invading my sleep, the days have been pretty chock full of constant ideas and images regarding the play, and moments when I’ll see a lady wearing a colorful wire pin in her hair and seriously consider asking her if I can borrow it for the “Wedding at Cana” scene. If I ever do crack and ask said lady, I should probably warn her that I tend to fall asleep mid prop-sorting and that she shouldn’t loan me anything that she wouldn’t want me to roll over during the night as it might be returned in a slightly different shape than it began.

And since my involvement in the passion play is across many various fronts, I’ve gotten references for people to contact regarding directing, choreography, costume design, publicity, musicians, stage managers, props people and goodness knows what else. These suggestions have involved just about every one of the previously listed tasks. Sometimes I hardly get a name matched with a correct telephone number, so the phone conversations are often rather convoluted. At the beginning of the process, I would draw out my Passion Play binder and carefully carve a name and surname in a proper “contact chart” and the conversation would go like this:

 

Me: Hello Cathy, this is Emily from Clonard Church…I’m directing the Passion Play.

Cathy: Hello Emily.

Me: I received your name from Anna at daily mass and she said you might like to help with costumes for the play. Is that true?

Cathy: Absolutely…..

 

However, when I began jotting down letters that sort of composed a plausible name alongside numbers that were fairly legible on scraps of napkins, the conversations began going downhill….

 

Me: Helloooo…..eggs?

Person: No this is Joe. (oops…must’ve jotted the name down on my grocery list)

Me: Oh right, Joe! Well, Joe, umm…a cast member (since I can’t recall who gave me the name) gave me your name and said that you might be available to help out with the Passion Play and I wanted to let you know that I would love to have your help! Now…what is it that you do?

Person: I work with spot lighting and projectors.

Me: Hmmm…you don’t happen to build wooden spears in your free time, do you?

 

And that’s typically the flow of conversation, only with slight differences in names. And lately I’ve stopped trying to guess their names and occupations (that got embarrassing when “Kathy” was actually “Matt”, who did not actually sew frilly things on costumes or carve wooden props). Anyhow, we’re managing to pull together all the Kathys and Joes and Matts and Eggs slowly but surely in time for Palm Sunday, which is just a few days away.

In spiritual direction, I’d confessed that most of the quiet time I’d attempted to take became a game of “how many times will Emily have to push Passion Play thoughts out of her head in ten minutes.” Well, it was clear that I was clearly losing, so we tried to find a balance of prayer in the midst of the craziness of Passion Play happenings. We discovered that rather than trying to shut it out completely, that I should incorporate it into my prayer instead. Ha! Take that, brain. I’ve outsmarted you. We talked about a Jesuit form of prayer where one basically takes a Biblical character or a Saint and prays through conversation with that person. She said I could step into the shoes of a person in History in this way, and better understand their struggles and joys in that way. So on my way down to the bus station the other day, I attempted this form of prayer. To anyone who passed me on the street as I was seemingly talking to myself, I apologize. Especially because it wasn’t exactly the normal type of talking to oneself which is often pertaining to errands and self-reminders to collect “so-and-so” at 4 o’clock. I think anyone who wandered past me and heard, “was it easy to have faith that he could make wine from water at the wedding?” probably stared for a minute, thinking that I’d maybe said “drink wine and water” instead. Then, when it was clear I was still goin’ to town with Biblical references, they probably thought, “zoinks, she’s certainly gone off her rocker”. Maybe if I’d handed out fliers for the Passion Play at the same time, my strange behavior would’ve made a bit more sense.

Here are a few pictures from the rehearsal process:

Patrik Malec from the Czech Republic is our 14 year-old Jesus!
“Healing Rain” from the Baptism in the Jordan scene
Jesus teaches the children how to pray 🙂
Apparently we were “cross-less” this rehearsal
Monseigneur Denis Lennon was our very own King Herod!

And here’s a video: Healing Rain

Finally, a few of us played at what is known as a “red chair”, or essentially an open-mic night in Wexford. We made it just in time to enter ourselves into the last remaining slot at the end of the open mic hour and debuted our several songs in front of a fairly full audience, for a café, anyway. We didn’t begin on the best foot, since while Robby was tuning the guitar, a call came from an audience member to tell a joke in the meantime. Well, the first joke that came to mind was, “why did the pilgrims pants fall down?” And, of course, to an Irish person who didn’t study pilgrims in 2nd grade like most of our readers, they didn’t know why the pilgrims pants fell down…and it didn’t make an ounce of sense when I retorted, “because his belt was on his hat.” I quickly changed “pilgrim” to “leprechaun”, but I’m fairly certain the joke was too far gone to be salvaged. Oh well, someone said that it was good that our performance was better than my joke-telling.