By sean mcnulty
Mr. O’Hare’s a real bastard but even I’d suggest he’s the right man for putting on a play. He’s always coming in with a bow-tie. Very slick. He still slaps the heads of us all for not more than a whisper to the boy next, but hay, he’s in de newspapers sometimes. That counts for something. Dere’s pictures of him doing Hamlet in the Town Hall and everything. He’s a real bastard, but very slick.
So O’Hare comes in today and he says to get ready because we’re going to be doing another school play at Christmas. Everyone groans but I don’t. I loved going into the hall years back and the experience of de whole ting. Pure waste of time. I like that. But I’m not up for doing Shakespear and her sister. I tink we’re too young for that craic. But when he announces what play it is we’re going to do, we’re relieved to hear it isn’t Shakespear:
--Crocodile Dundee, he says.
Roars and cheers from the lot of us.
--Like de fillum, sir?
--Just like de fillum, he says. But infinitely more truthful.
DIXON --Shur der always at the bottom at the leeg.
ME --Der no Celtic.
MCGURK --Ah fuck yoo an yer Celtic. Dis is about Australia.
DIXON --Whut’s de connection?
ME --Between Dundee United and Australia?
DIXON --I dunno.
MCGURK --Ye dunno de history of all de prisoners from Scottin and Iron goin over dere?
MCGURK --Read a buk.
ME --Read a buk? Shur he oney knows about robbin’ buks.
DIXON --Dat’s right. I’ll rob some Scottin and Iron history buks next time I’m out and about.
Worst ting bout being in an all-boys school is some poor plank has to do de gerl’s part when we put on a play. But luckily we have Sean Hanratty who’s always more than happy to get de gerl’s part, for some reason. Two years ago, he was Snow White. Now he’s stepped forward to do Sue, Crocodile Dundee’s gerlfriend. I was Dopey back den. A big role.
The role of Crocodile Dundee goes to Jackie Arrowsmith, who’s Mr. O’Hare’s pet. I tink they’re in love with each other. I’d say dey’d make a great couple if Mr. O’Hare wasn’t too old for him. Jackie acts in all the plays and is the captain of all de teams and gets all de high marks and is really Damien: The Omen underneath.
No big role for me dis year. Me and McGurk are just extras but O’Hare tells us they are very important for de design of de whole ting. We have to wear businessman suits and just walk across the stage a few times. I tell you what, it feels more like de real fillums when you’re wearing a suit like yer man David Niven.
Of all of us, Dixon gets the prize. Mr. O’Hare gives him de part of de crocodile. He gets to wear a cool crocodile suit made by Sean Hanratty’s mudder who always makes great costumes and he gets to do this action scene where he attacks Sue and Crocodile Dundee comes along and saves her.
McGurk competes with Rory Prior about who’s going to get to do de poster for de play. McGurk hates Rory Prior wit a vengeance. But Rory wins out by drawing a really good picture of the actors from the fillum. McGurk does a sketch of a crocodile wearing a hat and giving the finger. Mr. O’Hare rejects the picture and Rory Prior’s artwork accompanies the posters that start showing up in shop windows all around the town. Everytime McGurk sees one of the posters, he gives it de finger, sometimes two.
ST. NICHOLAS’S HALL
AS PERFORMED BY THE STUDENTS
OF 5TH AND 6TH CLASS
The hall is so filthy and dusty. I tink we’ll all die of sickness before the opening night.
--Whut do ye tink of Ratty ? asks McGurk as we’re sitting around waiting to rehearse our parts. Do ye tink he luks like Sue from de fillum?
--Not one bit, are ye mad?
--I tink he luks a bit like her.
Sean Hanratty has a blondie wig on and red lipstick. And he’s wearing white cloth that’s all ripped like he’s Tarzan’s woman. Crocodile Dundee’s woman. If I didn’t know he was really Hanratty, I’d still tink he was some boy dressed up as a gerl.
--I tink his face is kinda like the real Sue, continues McGurk.
--But Sue’s a ride. Ratty’s not a ride. He’s a boy.
--Well, I dunno, says McGurk. The make-up has me nearly convinced.
I start coughing real bad as McGurk stares over at Sean Hanratty with his blondie wig and lipstick. It’s dead dusty in here.
Today, we rent out Crocodile Dundee and watch it in McGurk’s house for preparation. Mrs. McGurk brings in a plate of custard creams and bourbon creams while we’re watching the video. I hate custard creams and bourbon creams. When Mrs. McGurk sees that I’m not eating them, she brings in another plate with coconut creams on it. I love coconut creams. Mrs. McGurk is the BEST mudder of all time.
One day to go. I have to say I’m bloody nervous.
The curtains roll back and there we are.
We’re all standing there like idiots with our mouds wide open and de whole town is lookin at us. And we just go through the whole routine again as rehearsed but this time wit the hot dusty lights in our faces. I’ll be glad to be through wit it. I wouldn’t want to do this all me life with those hot dusty lights in me face.
Dixon steals the show. He becomes like a true-to-life crocodile. He makes his scene go on longer than it’s supposed to. We all suddenly see that Dixon has acting chops and might have a fewtcher on the stage. He makes it a tough and dramatic scene:
Dere’s tension and it looks like Crocodile Dundee won’t be able to kill the crocodile and save Sue as Dixon wrestles him for ages. It’s a fair old struggle for Jackie Arrowsmith. Mr. O’Hare’s at the side of the stage, ready to run in and break it up. Sean Hanratty as Sue screams louder than a real gerl and he has to keep the screaming going longer because Dixon the crocodile has such a grip on Arrowsmith there’s no getting away from him. Hanratty shud get an Oscar for all dat screamin.
Eventually, after about three long minutes, Arrowsmith manages to stick the plastic knife into the back of Dixon’s rubber crocodile suit. Dixon freezes, puts his hand on his heart, and he dies on stage a good death.
Arrowsmith takes a deep breath and runs to de side of the stage to whine at Mr. O’Hare about Dixon going off-script.
Slowly, dere’s a swell of clapping and cheering in the hall. And Dixon stands up to greet his adoring audience. Dey love him.
De crocodile gets a standing ovation, the only one that night. Pulls de knife out of his back and takes a bow.