Watch "I Was Fine Until You Came Into The Room"

Director's Notes

This lovely play is about a couple celebrating 50 years of marriage telling their story of the day they first met. It comedically explores the exctiment, awkwardness and anxieties that go along with meeting someone you like for the first time and desperately trying not to screw it up.

I chose this play after reaching out to the playwright and explaining to him what we were doing and asking if I could do another one of his short plays I had read. He said no, due to licensing. He then very graciously offered me a choice of 3 other plays he felt would lend themselves well to the online medium. As soon as I read "I Was Fine Until You Came Into The Room" I knew it was the play for me. I owe a big thanks to Rich (if I may) for allowing us to bring his work to life... virtually.

I also would like to thank the creative team for NP's Summer Shorts for working through all the challenges of virtual rehearsals and performaces and supporting all of us and having the vision to make this happen.

Lastly, I wish to thank the cast. They are incredible and I am so honoured to be working with such a talented bunch. There were so many wonderful auditions and the choices were extremely difficult but in the end I couldn't be happier with the group I had to work with and am very proud of what we've accomplished.

The cast of "I Was Fine Until You Came Into The Room" rehearsing the show.

Meet the Cast & Crew

Sharon Rathbone (Old Helen)

Tom Quinn (Old Pete)
Lucy Sanci (Young Helen)

Alex Stamp (Young Pete)

Tom Quinn shows us what it looks like "backstage" on Zoom!

An Interview with Tom Quinn
Tell us a little about why you wanted to get involved with Northumberland Summer Shorts.

COVID-19 has impacted all of us in unexpected ways. With just a few days before Northumberland Players’ production of "All My Sons" was to open, the Board wisely decided that all shows needed to be put on hold - indefinitely.

In the days that followed I worked hard to keep myself ready for a “short notice return” to opening night, doing my own mental rehearsals sitting in my living room with my morning coffee. As the weeks turned into months, the hope for a short rehearsal period began to wane as did my discipline for rehearsing a show that had no clear return in sight.

And then, Northumberland Summer Shorts came along to offer a way to get involved with others in a creative project we could all work on from home. It came at just the right time to help lift creative spirits by providing an opportunity to re-engage.

After on-line auditions, there was a new script to be analyzed; lines to be learned and a chance to collaborate in on-line rehearsals with some actors outside the community, under the direction of a trusted director. Although the performance was to be like nothing I have experienced before, the process drew on many of the skills and discipline required of an in-theatre performance.

What has been the most challenging thing about this new way of performing?

It took me awhile to figure out why this felt so different from being on stage. Throughout the typical rehearsal process, actors work hard to leave themselves behind allowing their character to fully emerge through what they say, do, think and feel.

On-line, the fact that the camera used to capture the performance is, at the same time, projecting your own image back at you makes this far more difficult. It is akin to rehearsing before a mirror, a technique that typically results in contrived, demonstrational
acting as what the actor actually “sees” can easily overtake what the character is intended to “feel”.

What has been the best part of this experience?

Learning to use a new medium and finding ways to capture some of the live performance experience has been a welcome challenge during these times of limited social interaction.

As it turns out, I will be self-isolating on Prince Edward Island on the day/s we record our work - this is a little mind-boggling and yet just another example of how COVID-19 has forced us all to re-think what is possible.

And of course, having had an opportunity to work with three actors I have never met – and perhaps never will – has been a very positive experience helping to reinforce a slogan made popular during early days of the pandemic: We are all in this together!