Monday, June 21, 2010

Actiontrack blog: the final day

Michael Kemp signs off his Actiontrack Showbuild blog, and indeed his Transition Year, with this final contribution about Saturday's experience:-

Part 5: The Redemption

Wow, that went fast, Transition Year gone WOOP WOOP, Fifth Year now heading towards us like a voluminous dark cloud. YIKEs!

Still, all we can do is wait and prepare for the bitter assault of work that will come at us, this time with extra vigour that it presumably built up during our year-long truce, and what you do most during Fifth Year other than pant-wettingly heavy amounts of Leaving Cert preparation is looking back and thinking about how awesome Transition Year was. So why not get to the point and purpose of this entire blog and write about the swan song (I almost wrote "swang" there but I thought that I should try and resist having abbreviations and conjunctions take over our world) that was Actiontrack.

Well for those who are reading this and hadn't seen the one and only production of JAWS: The Musical and are seemingly begging me to go in to encyclopaedic detail of the production and plot: tough luck, blogee, you're just going to have to let that slide past you like this year's Glastonbury - all you're going to get is my hazy summary of events.

It overall was an incredibly busy week. I remember at the start thinking we'd be doing ZIP ZAP BOING! each morning yet I was oh-so-wrong as the realities of production hit home, and the dizzying amounts of work and the untapped flow of creativity took over. Each break and lunch left us all starving as we gorged ourselves on anything, just anything to give us enough energy for the next dance rehearsal. To be honest, during the whole week my kidneys were painful with exhaustion and I couldn't stand for long without needing to sit down and rest my deflated legs. One morning I actually slept through my alarm I was so tired - which doesn’t seem like anything major - we all do it eventually – but my alarm isn't a little ringing clock or one of these EXCURCIATINGLY ANNOYING dadadaduh digital ones that slowly build in ear-bleedage until you turn them off. No, my alarm is a speaker-box right next to my pillowed head that blasts out Florence + the Machine each morning - and I still slept through all twenty minutes of it!

Either way despite our tired, creaking mass we still kept goinig on that last day, which involved putting the entire set design together, sound and video checks, setting up the seating rows, learning new dance steps, prepping our costumes and fitting in a whole dress rehearsal while the bustling queue outside tried to drown out our howlings of 'The Head, The Tail, And The Whole Damn Thing'.

As the lights went down and we scampered back into our 'green room' only to scurry back to clear out and take apart our week's work - tears stained faces as the end had rolled over and left us, not just the end of the show, but for some their whole time here in the school. It was rejuvenating and saddening as we tore down our papier maché and willow sharks, but for some it was a metaphor, the ridding of the ephemeral, taking down what was never meant to last.

A special extra big jazz handed Thank You must go to the Actiontrack team - who tried to stay oh-so-modest behind their instruments and amongst the crowd and criminally never stood up to take their long overdue and deserved bow at the end. So I might as well try to ruin your anonymity by thanking Nick, the Hannibal of the Actiontrack team, who was able to siphon our creative flow into something of the calibre as the final show; Nate, if we were to still go by A-Team logic would be Howlin' Mad Murdoch, who pieced together what a bunch of kids caught on a sound recorder and turned it in to one effective and unnerving soundscape and also taught me the revelation of Power Chords; Katie who let everyone relive the ART ATTACK! phase of their childhood by making excellent set dressings in the form of giant hanging legs or dead tiger sharks; and to Molly whose cheesy dance moves were another highlight of the show, and who also taught us something we will never forget - that the "Shake Your Tail Feather" move originates from the original Hairspray.

So to cap this all off - hmm what to say - I’ve got nothing planned - I have to have something, every other post had some kind of simple, self-referential, expectant poetry to it - Hope It Won't Stink et all - I can't be expectant now unless I end on a downer mentioning Fifth year, but now that's not right - think of something; what would Nick say; he'd always have something planned, Like Hannibal - wait that's it!

(*cough*-clear throat-*cough* deep breath in, look up, jut out jaw, do an Eastwood Squint)

Actiontrack was all about taking the different frayed ends of our imaginations and piecing them together and weaving it in to something that can be presented and get across the true overwhelming freedom Transition Year brought us, and despite it's freeform nature, it had planned to bring all fifty of us together and just make a show for us to celebrate that without leaving anyone out and letting everybody in - I Have To Say, (dramatic pause, chomp cigar) I Love It When a Plan Comes Together.

[coming soon: some photographs...]

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