Hey hey hey! I’m Oliver and I play Padraic in Lieutenant of Inishmore.
Before this play I had never shot a gun before. Padraic is an Irish Terrorist whose specialty is knocking off his enemies at point blank range.
Sooo, as an actor, I thought it would be a good idea to reconcile our differences. David McCormack, an ex marine who plays James, suggested we go to Caswells Shooting Range and I jumped at the opportunity. He told me that his own personal firearm was very similar to the stage gun I would be using in the show and that I was welcome to borrow it. And then he said that just the thought of going to the shooting range gave him a hard on.
What the heck was he talking about?! I was excited but more excited/scared than excited/hard on. Clearly I was entering into new terrain. The land of manly men and their firearms! The night before we went I had a dream that I was at Caswells aiming at the target when I got a fit of giggles that I couldn’t control. The owner decided that I had become a danger to the other patrons so he approached me with a smile on his face and a semi automatic behind his back. I never knew what hit me. As my spirit left my body it floated over to the Shooting Range Rules posted on the wall. In bold lettering, right below "No alcoholic beverages" was written, "No giggling like a prepubescent girl!".
That morning, I got to the shooting range early and nervously pawed over the notes from our crash course in gun use given by Cory Starr, a former policeman and the Special Effects man on the show.
The range opened and our group of four, filed in and split the cost of ammo, eye and ear protection and extra gun. It all cost about $20 an hr. per person. I let everyone take a turn at the target before I did – all under the guise of gentlemanly courtesy. Beau Heckman, who plays Christy, was a first time gun user like me. I watched him approach the target with a swagger and confidently fire off four rounds. After him came David and Cory, who took turns pulverizing the target. Jokes were made about how the silhouetted figure didn’t have any more brains!
Then it was my turn. I held the gun with my thumb pointed up the way I had been practicing at home with my imaginary gun. Cory told me that if I fired the gun like that I would probably break my thumb when the magazine snapped back. I thanked him and then put my thumb down.
I fired some rounds and I felt a rush of adrenaline as the loud noise of the gun put me into high alert. When I finished, I turned back to the boys and couldn’t help grinning ear to ear. This was really fun! More than a little scary! And yes, I thought I had a wee bit of a hard on, if not physically, at least metaphorically.
Then we decided to compete. A round bullseye target was sent out to 60 feet, twice the distance of the previous spot. Each of us had two shots.
David shot slightly down and to the left and blamed his breathing. Beau looked like a pro again but didn’t seem to be hitting the target at all. Cory managed to get one shot right to the edge of the bulls eye.
As for me, I got one shot four inches off center and my second shot was a near perfect bulls eye!!
I was sure that the guys would lift me on their shoulders and parade me all around the Valley of the Sun like a victorious gladiator but instead we went out for burgers and French fries.
I used to pride myself on being modest and soft spoken. Those days are over. Some of my friends have noticed the change. They seem to be giving me a wider berth these days. I have pinned the target with my bulls eye to the rehearsal hall wall and to any newcomer that walks through the door. I bark orders, directing their attention toward it, and gloating over my natural abilities with a gun.