The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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Location: Kilcullen (Phone 087 7790766), County Kildare, Ireland

Sunday, October 18, 2009

the poetry is in the pity

It was evening at Kilcullen theatre.
The play Poets In Paradise had just come to an end, thrilling all who saw it.
Thrilling them, not because it had come to an end, but because it was soooo good.
The actor who played Yeats was particularly brilliant.
As you join us, cast and crew are glad handing audience members in the foyer.
There is much talk of television productions and Broadway runs, and so on.
Mainly from me.
Through the noisy and demonstrative crowd, a stern looking fellow of striking mien marches with purposeful tread in my general direction.
"Heelers," says local worthy Michael Kelleher (for it is he), "Why are all the Irish poets in your play so fat?"
It didn't sound very polite the way he said it.
Some of these local worthies are not worthy of the time I give them.
He eyes me austerely down the nose, like a school head master waiting for a reply from a nervous pupil.
This is because he is a school head master.
But I am not a pupil.
No dammit.
I am the master now.
Darth Vader.
Lost it there for a minute.
Where were we?
My reply.
Oh yes.
"I can only speak for my own portrayal of WB Yeats," I told him coldly. "The fatness was deliberate. I wanted to give a well rounded portrayal of the character."
Ah bold readers.
That old gag.
It wasn't a good enough come back for the line he'd used to open negotiations.
But it was the best I could do.
I should have just told him to f--- off.
The whole situation is redolent of what the French call l'esprit d'escalier.
Staircase wit.
The idea is that French people regularly trade insults as they walk down the stairs from their apartments.
And it is often the case that the person on the receiving end of the insult only thinks of a snappy comeback when the other Monsieur is long gone.
That's l'esprit d'escalier.
Where you can't think of a good reply at the time but one comes to you when it's too late.
If only I'd thought of telling the local worthy to f--- off down in the theatre.
But I was back at the Chateau de Healy before that particular gem of repartee crystalised in my brain.
C'est la vie.
I bet it never happened to Oscar Wilde.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice James - it was a great performance by Yeats You just get better every time you perform his character Philo

11:37 AM  
Blogger heelers said...

Phil at last we agree!

2:22 AM  
Anonymous MissJean said...

Alas, I didn't see your performance. When are you touring Detroit? :)

7:32 PM  
Blogger heelers said...

MJ you hold the American rights. We'll be there when you're ready for us.

12:45 AM  

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