I’ve had an amazing couple of weeks. I don’t really know how to articulate it – incredible shows, energy, activity . . . the last couple of years I’ve gone to the Fringe and done guest spots, but to actually be involved, with a show of my own, even if only for a week, was fantastic. It made me feel involved in the buzz of everything that was going on – late night cabarets, afternoon comedy, heart wrenching shows at 10 30 in the morning (Daffodils at Traverse, I nearly wept) . . .
and people came to see my show! And they liked it and said nice things! And left money! All of which was incredible.
From a room full of thirty to an audience of three friends, I’ve learned so much about how to perform in differing contexts, how to alter, adjust and stay fresh (and in the case of the day my entire family came, a crash course in how not to corpse at my own jokes every time I caught my little sister’s eye). Above all, I’ve felt part of something hugely bigger than myself. I like that feeling.
Arriving back in Newcastle yesterday, it felt like I’d been away for months, in a nice way. It felt like I’ve been on constant fast-mode for a month and now I’m trying to come down slowly from that and turn the energy into doing a bit of work on my other show Sticking, rather than crashing completely.
Getting back to find that Neal Pike, a good friend and cracking poet, had sent me his debut book ‘Identity Bike Ride’ helped, as did seeing my housemate again, and the completion of his cosy cultural appropriation corner – we have floor cushions now. I was dubious at first, but actually they’re lovely.
I’m itching to perform and write again – I’m heading back up to the Fringe today for a couple extra nights, to see my boyfriend and a few more shows (should help with the not crashing thing . . .) But I’m champing for next year and, hopefully, a full month’s run of a show with PBH Free Fringe.
Performing my own show at Edinburgh’s kinda made me re-understand that I’m doing what I want to do – writing and performing. And I’m looking forward to the next thing and the next thing, trying not to lose the momentum. As someone terrified of feeling like I’m on any sort of conveyor belt, this feeling of almost-contentment with the course of where things are going is a nice break from worrying constantly about what I’m doing, to have reminder that I love this line of work.
There are definitely things I learned from this run. Here are some of them, in case they’re helpful to anyone.
- Book the gig, then write the show. For me, it wouldn’t have ever been written otherwise. I do tend to get off on almost debilitating last minute fear and rush though, and I get that some people are more organised. . . but don’t let not having a show completely polished and ready to go put you off applying, would be my advice.
- Sort out flyers sooner rather than later – I’d have definitely had a re-jig of the blurb and stuck me web address on if I’d left myself time to think.
- See loads of stuff – I was still finishing writing my work while I was up at the Fringe and the temptation was to hoard myself away – but there’s nothing better for ideas than seeing what other people are up to, and no better place than the Fringe to do it.
- Packed lunches are great for the wallet, but pies from Piemaker are more delicious.
- Always warm up before a show. It’s kind of something I already knew, but the days I didn’t stick to it were the flattest days. I basically had a routine which involved getting to the venue at half 11, running through the show, or bits of it at least until about 12 30, then going out to flyer for an hour before heading back to do the show.
A couple of days I got up late and just went straight for the flyering and didn’t warm up or run through. And it was fine, but the jokes and the pacing just didn’t quite land how they sometimes did.
- Another thing that helped me with that actually was changing the beginning of the show in some way for each performance, which I started doing halfway through – basically the first show went really well, largely off the back of nervous energy. I then kept the same structure for the next two shows. They were slightly flat, so I started changing things a bit to keep it fresh and terrifying, which helped. I don’t know if that’s the best way to do it though. More rehearsal is possibly a better option.
MILD SPOILERS FROM HERE
OK, so on with it – for everyone who came to see the show and is interested, the stats are in. For people who’ve not seen the show, if you’re going to, this might spoil things a bit. Or not make sense. Come see the show and it’ll make more sense. Or just don’t read it.
Anyway, here we go – the verdict . . . .
Clear win for burn there. So what have we learned?
A destructive act is best kept to yourself?
A lie, once committed to, must be preserved?
People just like fire? (Or people with money like fire)
Don’t deface people’s possessions if you aim to return them?
Loads of lessons. Lots for Rob to ponder. Safe to say he’s had a good long think about what he’s done.
Thanks so much to everyone who voted with their monies or just came along to watch, it means the world!
Eat your carrots. Drive safely. Look out for more gigs in the coming months.