Sometimes we are offered an opportunity that is too good to pass up. This opportunity will be a huge challenge and demand a massive commitment. It will be doubtful whether or not you can actually pull it off but, if you do, it will be absolutely amazing. So you have a choice. Turn down the opportunity because it’s too much of a risk and carry on as before, with all the ‘what ifs?’ and ‘if onlys’ that brings. Or you can take the bull by the horns and go for it because you know you’ll kick yourself if you don’t and anyway, of course you can pull it off and it will be spectacular.
This was the challenge that was presented to a theatre company I help to run earlier this year. We were asked to write, direct and perform a new 30 minute play for a festival that took place last weekend. We knew we would be up against it. That time wouldn’t be on our side. That it would age us prematurely, make us want to pull our hair out and scream but we took the opportunity anyway as, well, you don’t turn down opportunities like that.
If I believed in such things (which I don’t) I’d say the project was cursed from the beginning with delays in writing the script, problems with casting, massive fallings out and resignations (which I understand is quite common in the theatre and I really don’t know exactly what they were about. Nor do I want to), to people taking on other projects at the same time which meant that this play wasn’t their priority and festival organisers who couldn’t organise a piss up in the proverbial.
We tried our very best. We worked our socks off and aged and pulled out our hair but it wasn’t enough. After one performance (we were scheduled for two) the play was pulled by the festival organisers as one of our actors forgot her lines and then three of them froze and dithered on the stage. Understandably, that one mistake lost a lot of our audience.
So that was that. We tried and failed. And it feels crap after all the time and commitment everybody put into it. It sucks to fail. It sucks to think that it could have been so much better with more time and less off-stage dramas. So now I have to do all those clichés, you know the ones. Pick yourself up and dust yourself down, get back on the horse, lick your wounds, what doesn’t kill us… But it still sucks and it’s still crap. This is obviously why wine was invented. Joke! This is what family and friends were invented for. With the benefit of hindsight, would I change anything? No, sometimes clichés are right. It is better to try and fail then not try at all. Even if failing sucks.