Lasting out Lughnasa

When Katie Wecker called one day
To ask if I would do a play
I tried to quell the theater in my blood
But looking back on wonder years
Of laughter, love, and languished tears
I shook my head and nodded that I could

I traveled out to read the part
And just as I was apt to start
“Oh, by the way, he’s Irish,” they decreed
And sounding like a Scot from Wales
Who vacations in the Irish hills
With British parents I began to read

And with the reading finally through
The director did what directors do
Let out a sigh and then began to speak
We’re desperate, Sean, and so I guess
The part is yours, if you’ll say “yes”
Here’s the script. We open in three weeks

Rehearsals went as rehearsals go
We learned to love and hate the show
But showed up every evening just the same
We laughed a lot and almost wept
During Michael’s speech we often slept
Which is probably the thing that kept us sane

The facial hair was filling in
As opposed to Bill’s hair feeling thin
And the sister’s getting redder every day
Director’s notes were down to few
Project, promote, pretend you do
And “pick the pace up please,” he’d often pray

We’d start the show, then start again
Then back up to page nine or ten
And after several hours make it through
Then a night or two before the show
The lines and cues began to flow
We sighed relief and moved on to Act Two

The characters began to form
Though that seven-year-old would buck the norm
The family constellation began to grow
The ornery girl, though I’d be too
The jerk, the Jack, the self-righteous shrew
Aggie, Magnes and the simple Rose

Through migraines, colds, and whooping cough
And Shannon running on and off
And music cues that came whene’er the would
We played in hopes to hear the sound
Of clapping when the lights went down
And laughter when the jokes were understood

And bittersweet the tale was told
Despite the lack of tickets sold
And starting prompt each night at half past eight
But hearts instead of seats were filled
Which made it worth the nights we drilled
The harvest scene and Gerry at the gate

And looking back my feelings faint
Though my house is empty and still needs paint
I’m thankful for the fun and for the friends
And as the last light fades away
I, like the audience, have to say
“I’m glad I came” and “Is that the end?”