I went to an Irish variety show that was be held in the Oscar Peterson hall at Concordia. I basically bought the tickets to support the show hoping that they would, in turn, support my show on the 12th of March.
The bulk of the evening was a mish-mash of clashing styles and levels of incompetancy. I had the feeling I was either on the Gong Show or Canadian Idol. Either way, after four hours of sitting there, I was ready to hit something with a mallet.
I don't think these people expected for this show to go on for four hours (with one 10 minute intermission after the first 1.5 hours), but I got the distinct feeling that they had not rehearsed the show prior to putting it on. Of course, that probably would have been difficult to do with the vast number of people that were performing (12 different acts). It would have been impossible to get them all together at the same time to rehearse the show.
What they needed was a director, someone who has had experience putting these shows on. Someone who could've timed each act and then selected which ones could play and which ones could not.
The selection of pieces was also bizarre. It was an evening with a mix of traditional music, story, and poetry. After an instrumental set, they decided to have someone read a piece of Irish literature. With so many brilliant and talented Irish writers to choose from, who do they go with? The presentor read a passage from Bram Stroker's Dracula, which did nothing to elevate the spirit of the evening. Was it Halloween? No. Was it some kind of anniversary? No. This presentation was right out of left field, flapping forlornly by itself.
The most bizarre parts of that night were as follows:
- The host's daughters (both about 10 years old) sang four songs that night. It was cute to see them sing both the Irish and Canadian national anthems (a bit off-key, but forgivable), but having them take a good 20 minutes of the evening was opportunistic.
I know it can be difficult to be objective about your offspring, but I got the feeling I was trapped in this guy's basement watching his home movies.
- There was a sound guy (who was sporting a Shatner 2000 toupe) who kept criss-crossing the stage while the people performed, picking up cables, adjusting microphones, and making cryptic hand signals to the boardman in the audience. It was very distracting.
- While the two-daughter team sang a Gaelic love song (which would`ve sounded like a bored ten year old singing You Are My Sunshine duirng a Xmas dinner), the Sound Guy plugged in a shiny kettle and left it steaming in the middle of the stage. The audience spent the rest of the song ignoring the girls and pointing at the kettle, wondering why it was there.
It turned out that the kettle was being used by a guy playing the Irish pipes and need the steam to keep his instrument in good playing order (no, he didn't make tea).