Sunday, 6 November 2005

You People Are Gonna' Respect Me if it Kills You

Milton Keynes is a roundabout infested hellhole but it is the home of Sally who saw Bouncers and wrote a lovely blog entry on it here. It was good to see Sal again and the gig turned out to be a good one even though it was full of young people.

Young people were a brand of human I used to really quite like but performing shows for them (alas, Bouncers is a play studied by kids) has sucked me dry of all my sympathy and now I just want to rend them limb from limb. But more of that in a bit...

Somehow we ended up performing in a castle last week, Tamworth Castle to be precise. Needless to say, a play set in an 80s nightclub is not ideally suited to a medieval banqueting hall surrounded by suits of armour and bastard swords. If I'm coming across as a bit po-faced it's because I am because the mother of all nights was coming. Fucking Bedford.

We had been sold out here ages in advance. Why? Young people. Young people in their droves were coming to see us do Bouncers. The anticipation of the horror to come was offset by the theatre giving us orange juice and snacks. But then the show began...

Fuck knows where all the teachers where, no doubt in the bar or grumbling about a lack of overtime? The kids behaved awfully, first off incessant chatter, then fiddling with mobile phones to telling Lucky Eric to 'fuck off'. I could feel the hate and rage build up inside me. I can't stand being dis-respected while I'm busting my balls on stage, working hard to do the best I can for the audience. You are so vulnerable up there, muted by the character you're playing, relying on an unspoken contract between you and the spectator to show each other some respect.

If they were gonna' break the contract so was I. We get to the end of the play and Richard is about to deliver the final speech and a mobile phone goes off. So do I: "Turn that fucking mobile phone off" I shout. There is silence, the phone still makes an annoying trill. "I said, turn that fucking phone off or we won't finish the fucking show" The phone is subdued, the silence is pregnant, I hear someone about to speak so I beat them to it: "You fucking prick". I stare into the blackness that the audience hide in and all is quiet, Richard does his speech and the audience give us a standing ovation.

You people are gonna' respect me if it kills you.


  1. Good for you, Dan!

    When actor Kevin Spacey was starring in a London revival of The Iceman Cometh, he stopped a performance after a cell phone rang, looked out at the audience and said, "Tell them we're busy."

    Rest of the article about cell phones & theater here.

  2. That sounds like a performance you would not want to repeat..Kids of today are often heard saying "respect" but have no idea what it's all about!

    Respect mate!

  3. Thats brilliant. I don't own a mobile phone but now I'm gonna get one & bring it to your show just to see you explode on stage. great stuff.

  4. Man, you broke through the fourth wall...that sucks, dude. No panto bookings for you this year then?

  5. Breaking through is good, fourth wall is corrupt anyway.

    As for panto, you know what you're getting into but there are different rules for different shows.

  6. I'm a little late getting here, but wanted to say... the post a couple down, the one you didn't have comments on... heartbreaking. I don't know who or what or why, but it was beautiful and very moving.

    That's all.

    Oh...and I turn off my phone at ALL public events.

  7. hey, from Tunis! You are one effing audacious guy, Daniel. Takes gutts to do that. The very fact you got a standing ovation speaks volumes that you earned some serious respect doing what you did, too.

  8. A roundabout infested hellhole eh! Well Stantonbury is but to be honest its better than the dangerous and deadly streets of bloody CamberHELL..... thanks for your nice comments about me...


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