DAY OFF 13TH AUGUST
No show today. I am exactly half way through the run. Twelve shows done, twelve shows to go. I am very happy with the progress of the show in the first half of the run. The material is largely the same as the first show. Some routines have been dropped, some have been inserted, some have been invented, some have been truncated, some have been lengthened, punchlines have been added, punchlines have been cut. What has changed most is my knowledge of the show, not just knowing the words, but knowing what the routines are actually about and how I can pitch the performance for maximum effect. The last week has largely been about melding it into a “show” rather than a series of routines. Getting the right emotion going into each routine has been important. That I seriously thought about quitting after show number 5 now seems far away and highly ridiculous but it was heartfelt at the time.
So I am very excited about the potential of the show in the next 12 days, where I can take it next, how I can develop it and how I can push myself. This is balanced against the knowledge of finite energy. My concentration was already starting to fray in yesterdays show, so I hope after today’s break I can be back on top of my game. But ultimately as the fringe heads into the last week, energy levels will start to suffer and it will be difficult to stay on top of every facet of performance.
The best routines are ‘Gay town’ and ‘Life is a Waste’ and if I could get everything up to that level that would make it quite a show.
It may seem obvious but I constantly have to remind myself that every show is a different audience. The audience doesn’t have knowledge of the previous shows. The walls of the room don’t have any memory either. Every night I start again from scratch with a different bunch of people and every night I build something new. Every night I am dealt a different hand. Some audiences just have more potential than others, some have lower energy, are less elastic in terms of trust and some are just less into what I do than others. The fact that I perform in the same physical space for a month creates the illusion of linearity but there is no linearity between the shows other than my gaining in experience every night. So I have to do the best with the unique circumstances of every single night. I don’t think I really understood that before.
That has also taken pressure off me. I used to think of it more in terms of sitting an examine every day and if you passed it your reward was to come back and sit a different exam paper the next day and so on for a month. I think my new way of looking at it is better. I also believe I am more mentally unstable at this fringe than in previous fringes (since 2007) and this may/may not be adding to the performance. In my defence I think everyone is going crazy this year. Today in west Edinburgh I got into a George Costanza type stand-off when I refused to move my car to let a woman reverse her car. My car was parked properly and she had adequate room to get out so I didn’t feel obliged to move. Her husband didn’t see it that way. Needless to say the whole thing escalated. I would usually have been on stage at the time. Just saying.