Last night was the fourth and final preview of Roman Around. It really drove home why we do previews: to test and strengthen our material. So that it’s ready. And we’re ready.
After last night, we’re ready for Edinburgh.
The learning curve so far has been steep: I’ve been dealing with the nerves, figuring out which lines work, and which don’t, where to stand, how to interact with the audience… everything really. In the process I’ve discovered that a live show is a living thing.
But I’m now starting to move on from the confusion and sleepless nights of being a new parent. I’m now less nervous when I interact with it, I know how to hold it. I’m almost at the next stage: the pride and joy of having a show that is walking on its own.
Last night I was the first half of a double bill with Fat Kitten Improv at The Queen’s Head pub. I performed for a crowd of about forty. That basically equals the audience totals for the first three shows combined. I realized that big audiences help. People (and performers) enjoy it when the echo of laughter is actually other people laughing, and not just your own laughs bouncing off the walls of an empty, darkened space.
Plus, I spent some time earlier this week adding in some new jokes. With the invaluable help and input of one Dave Waller of Cannonball Impro and Andrew and the Slides of Chaos. (We’re also working on some two-man freestyle mid- and long-form stand-up/improv, but frankly, right now we’re both too busy for too much of that).
But he helped me add in some new comedic bits, which I inserted into the show. They worked, these new punchlines, references, and actions. They also helped keep me on my toes, because I was trying to slide in those new bits in such a way that they didn’t seem like new bits. it made the whole show seem fresh; a living thing will continually surprise you.
The crowd was responsive. And the applause afterwards was sustained. So, yeah, I’m now feeling good. However, in Edinburgh, when you’re a first-timer, doing all your own promotions, performing in a noon slot, and only there for a week… well, I’ve heard big audiences can be hard to come by; I may yet experience the sensation of performing a show for one or two people.
But I’m not worrying about that right now. I’m focusing on the positive after last night. On Tuesday I leave for Edinburgh, and I’m keen to experience the Edinburgh Fringe for my very first time as performer and punter. That means meeting up with people (friends, strangers and friends-I-haven’t-met-yet), seeing shows, doing workshops, and continuing to raise this child into an unpredictable and precocious youth.