Shifting took it’s final bow on Saturday night to it’s sixth standing ovation and sixth consecutive sold out show.
Suffice to say, it was one of the most successful shows in the 5 year history of Devious Theatre. All the more remarkable considering it had a completely new (and youthful) cast, a debut script from a brand new writer and no name value bar any name value the company might have.
We definitely don’t take for granted that our shows will turn into red hot sell outs so we always push the promo material really hard. All the more so when you’ve got a new show to sell. We pushed it hard in terms of promo videos, posters, radio vignettes and promo images. I guess we always underestimated (as we do), the appeal of new work. Especially when we work in a town where the familiar staple is king, be it pantomime, John B.Keane or musical. However, this was the first time where we saw that our focus on new work is enough in itself. That maybe we didn’t need to push new work extra hard. We just needed to do it. And we just needed to do it because people wanted to see original work. And there’s always going to be a hunger for it.
The cast were excellent. Excellent to work with, consistent in their delivery, a joy to direct and everything you want in actors: committed, dedicated, reliable and inventive. I know I’m in danger of gush overload but they absolutely made the play and we were so proud to have them as part of our company. The cast are going to go far I think and we’ll definitely be using them again. The same goes for the teenage members of our crew who were all committed, dedicated and on the ball. I must give special praise to Eleanor Walsh, our assistant director who diligently wrote everything down and never missed one single rehearsal.
I worked with John Kennedy for the past 5 months on the script. It wasn’t the ideal amount of time for him. It wasn’t the ideal amount of time for us. It’s just how it worked out. We knew what we wanted. He knew what he wanted to write. He was delighted to be able to write plenty of ‘fuck’s’ and ‘cocks’ and have no one censor him. We found a middle ground, gave John all the resources and support that he needed and at the beginning of March he delivered a script. His very first completed play. Shifting was everything we wanted it to be and in the end it was everything a teen audience wanted. As we saw when they came rushing in to buy the opening night €5 tickets. Cheapskates. But yeah, teenagers get ‘pandered’ to or generally condescended but they rarely get spoken to, honestly and directly, in theatre. That was our main objective. And that was why we wanted a teenage writer to do that. Anything else would just be extrapolation.
The reviews have been sweet so far. You can read some of them here and also, here. It was possibly my most favourite play I’ve worked on. I’ve had an overwhelming sense of pride and joy (along with festering regret and hole poking) in everything we’ve done with Devious Theatre. But this one might have been the best. Maybe because it was the best. But maybe, because above everything, it was all about the future.