I won’t go through the entire day blow-by-blow, but I will tell you that we knew it was going to be a fun adventure right from the start. Because I got confused, we got off the bus at the wrong stop in Spiddal, so I texted Annamaria to explain what had happened and to tell her we’d be a little late because we were walking up the road from the Texaco station to where we should have gotten off the bus. Less than two minutes later, a car pulled up on the other side of the street honking its horn, and leaning out the window was Bobbi-Lee herself—or rather, Annamaria Nic Dhonnacha! She and Marie were in the front seat and had zipped up the road to meet us, leaning out the windows waving and gesturing for us to get in.
We were extras in two scenes—an exterior shot we filmed in the morning and an interior sequence we did after lunch—more on those in a bit. Annamaria and Marie kindly took us to lunch at Tigh Giblin in town, and we spent a lot of time in the afternoon hanging out in the green room, which is the lounge where the actors can hang out and relax between scenes, catching up with each other, making a cup of tea or having a snack, reviewing their lines, or checking the internet. I’ll talk more about hanging out there in a bit, but the green room is where we got to meet and really hang out with some of the actors who were working that day, and everyone was so welcoming and kind, and seemed genuinely interested in who we were and what we were doing there. (And not just in a “Who are you and what are you doing here?!” way.) After our afternoon of filming and hanging out in the green room, we said our goodbyes to Marie and to the other cast and crew we’d spent the day with, and then Annamaria took us to the bar at An Cruiscin Lan back down the hill in town, where we met Domhnall O’Donoghue (Pádraig), who wasn’t filming that day but kindly came in just to meet us. The four of us had lots of chat and laugh over drinks, and then Annamaria said goodbye, and Domhnall gave us a bit of a tour around the waterfront, from which you could even see the Aran Islands, and waited at the bus stop with us till our bus came a bit after 5:00. Of course it was almost pitch black by then—the days are short in Ireland in mid-December!
There was some intricate choreography involved—in some takes we walked in front of Marie/Mo as she entered the scene, and in some we were behind her, and I think there was a lot of moving her around, but since we weren’t supposed to be paying attention to her, I don’t really know what she was doing and will be interested to see the finished product. Marie is a bundle of energy and a riot, so she kept everyone laughing with her comments between takes.
One of the words I kept hearing throughout the day was “leanúnachas,” which means “continuity.” As you probably know, continuity involves making sure everything looks consistent from scene to scene and from take to take within a scene, keeping in mind that things can be filmed out of order. This involves a lot of the crew checking the monitors and watching tape back to make sure that, say, the part in Colm’s hair doesn’t switch from side to side during the course of a conversation, or that a salt shaker doesn’t appear and disappear on a café table. To avoid a lot of these problems, many of the knickknacks and other props are nailed down or glued in place! During our afternoon scene there was a lot of discussion of Mo’s collar and trying to make sure it was exactly the same from take to take so it didn’t flip up and down or fold under distractingly during a conversation. Hair and makeup also need to look identical take after take, which was tricky, for example, in our exterior shot when the rain and wind moved in and poor Marie/Mo was getting blown about between takes. This also meant some running around with umbrellas to make sure the actors stayed as dry as possible, the cameras didn’t get water on the lens, and so on. I expect the whimsies of the climate in Spiddal keep the crews and actors well on their toes, especially since it can change with little warning when you’re in the middle of a scene.
I’ll wrap up this installment of “My Day in Ros na Rún” here. Next time I’ll talk about all the people we met and hung out with and what it’s like to find yourself surrounded by and interacting with people you’ve seen on TV. We'll find out which actor babies love, which character's wardrobe rack is dazzling, and which actor we almost got hit by a car with! See you then!
EDIT: Find Part 2 here!