Not the Life - The Story - Back 'n Front

by Dezy Walls, 2024

By the time my brother, Peter, came to me crying, "This is Not the Life I Ordered", I had already written a song of that title, and though the lyrics in the verses were specific, the chorus was universal, letting Peter and I, and any one of you for that matter, completely identify with it.

I said I'd write his story - and in doing so I wrote my own - two brothers, one clearly at odds with everyday life [that's me], and the other, Peter, having hidden a secret struggle under a blanket of normality for years.

Add the also true story that these brothers are at odds with each other, when they could be allies, and the plot writes itself; that's if you've got eighteen years to twist it, turn it and mould it until it's as close to perfect as bedamned and they are screaming at you, "don't change a comma!"

At that point a wise woman, JoAnn Feigenheimer of Poughkeepsie, New York, says "record it", and luck and generous introductions finds you two West-End superstars to play [in the recording] Jack, the scruffy musician, and Simon, the spiffy accountant, thrown together the day before Simon's wedding to his boss's daughter; an ill advised move, Jack thinks, but keeps his counsel until an unexpected revelation turns everything on its head, letting brotherly love speak its mind.

Meanwhile, back in real life, these two superstars agree to come to Kenmare for the professional stage launch of their now favourite musical play, "This is Not the Life I Ordered", and that is where you come in, ready to follow the story, onstage and off; where does it go from here?

See you at the opening, my friends.

Where to ?

The purpose of this "definitive" production is to serve as a template for future stagings throughout Ireland and further afield, scaling up or down easily. Years as an international theatrical style corporate entertainer taught me the value of experimentation and revision.

Although inspired by a family story, "Not The Life", in review, speaks to and for a diverse cross section of our society. My other plays won awards but this is my defining work.

Terry Gordon, of Creation Studios, produced with me an R&D audio of “This is Not the Life I Ordered” starring West End players, Brian Gilligan and Andrew Pepper. My solo play, “Searching for Daddly Dee”, adapted for radio by Terry Gordon, won Gold for Drama at the IMRO All Ireland Radio Awards. Creation Studios are our sound designers.

I ran Small Roads Theatre Festival from 2016 until Covid stalled it, at Carnegie Arts Centre, Kenmare, a vibrant hub of culture in the south west. Manager Padraig Rochford and team run The Carnegie with Arts Council funding through Kerry County Council.

The Team:
Clare Smith my administrator for 17 years holds things together so others can shine.
Andrew Pepper [multi-talented West End actor-singer] plays Simon
Dave Kelly [Fair City’s “Lee Collins”] plays Jack - an extraordinary talent.
Dorothy Grace Laity - Lighting Designer [Macbeth, UK tour by SDP, Lx] a wonderfully imaginative creative.
Wouter Verkleij - Sound Technician and "Can-Do-Man" from the Netherlands
Dezy Walls - Director, Writer, Promoter, Producer
and of course many others

Why Kenmare for the launch of Not the Life I Ordered