SHOW 2, 3RD AUGUST
Sometimes this job is too much work. There is a couple from Glasgow who insist on sitting in the most inaccessible parts of the room. Constantly relocating, before the show starts, from one ill-advised seat to another, perpetually seeking out the Xanadu of chairs and doomed to ultimate disappointment. At one point selecting the only seat in the entire room from which it is impossible to see the stage. There are three generations of Finn’s spread over three rows – not because there are loads of them but because they don’t seem to want to sit with each other. There are a couple of men – I think American – who will go on to not smile once during the entire show but will place £20 in the bucket thus demonstrating that either they enjoyed it more than they appeared to or they don’t understand the value of pounds sterling. I seem to think they hate me because for some reason they consider me homophobic and judge them for their politics. I have no reason to suspect that but sometimes you have to invent motives for people. There is a woman with curly hair who laughs in all the right places but can never seem to infect everyone else with her laughter.
They have all chosen to sit in a giant horse shoe shape. Filling up the periphery of the seating while the centre remains empty. Even before the show starts they are all working against me. This is a form of collective stupidity that immediately annoys me.
Before the show kicks off I ask/cajole/bludgeon them to move to the centre of the audience. They oblige but in asking I have probably pissed them off. Only the Glaswegian couple remain rooted to the spot apparently finally satisfied by their latest bad choice of seat.
I start as yesterday without crowd work. I do not regret that decision but the whole show is a slog. The audience are now sitting together but that doesn’t mean they are working as a team. They are with me but it is impossible to build a head of steam and as they don’t laugh enough and always in the right places. It takes a discipline to keep the show in shape.
I just focus of performing each line or I think “performing the fuck out of it” as it is known in the business. But I do find it a stupendous effort to try and corral them. I suppose it is ultimately my job?
The Glaswegian couple are the best of the audience. Despite my earlier writing them off in my head as idiotic losers, they are in fact warm, delightful, silly, down and dirty. If only they had sat in the middle I think they could have taught the rest how to be an audience. But alas, cast off to one side they are too apart from the rest to make an impact. I regret secretly hating them in my head at the start. When they speak to me generously at the end I really think I don’t understand people at all.
Yesterday I rewrote the start of the show. Today it is the turn of the piece “Millennials” to be completely reordered, but this latest edit scrambles my brain. It is easy to remember new sections extremely difficult to forget old versions. The chance is that in a moment of pressure I will lapse into previous iteration.
I think I run out of energy at this point. Millennials is a bit of a dogs breakfast and I probably rush the second half of the show. I certainly manage to cram more material into today’s hour than yesterdays. I haven’t listened to the tape yet but how could it be other? I found it difficult to maintain a pace and rhythm for a show I don’t know well enough yet (and keep changing daily & by the way, will continue to do so for at least the next week) which received a lacklustre reception.