Finally! That was pretty much the only word going through my head while the opening music played for my solo show "Johnny Loves Mary Forever 1994". From the moment I performed the first version of the show in Tasmania at the beginning of the year I have been champing at the bit to launch it into the festivals. Since then there have been a couple of trial shows and each one has been important in the development of the show. There is a point though where the only way to learn anything new is to perform to a paying audience. You don't want to hit a tipping point with your writing and trial shows that has you over thinking the show up its own wazoo.
This is what my venue looks like before the patrons file in:
I had a quick run through with my techie Claire around 5pm and then had enough time to grab dinner by myself. A bit of quiet before the gig is something I crave. Even if I'm not pouring over notes I like to just think about the show, what my intentions are and how I am going to approach the performance. It was while eating that I came up with a way to use the microphone in helping to act out one part of the script. I tried it onstage and I liked the way it broke up the routine with the audio suddenly shifting while giving the audience something different to look at.
The set list was a simple one:
Johnny Loves Mary Forever 1994
For those of you who follow me via Facebook or Twitter you might be aware that I haven't been well since returning from India. A bit of Delhi Belly has dogged me and with jet lag also playing a part I have felt exhausted the past week. This may have been a blessing in disguise before my first show as I think it lent me a calmness that may not have been there otherwise. I don't think I would have been nervous last night but since I had been waiting so long to get the show on the stage I can sometimes come out too hard at the beginning of the night. Excitement and an eagerness to please can be a millstone early in the piece. Last night my adrenalin kicked in and I had the energy to walk onstage. That was it. I was happy to be out there and the audience can pick up on that vibe.
I was very lucky that the audience was spot on too. They were a great crowd who were plugged in from the get go. Early on this gave me a lot of confidence. That confidence I allowed me to move around the material to not only find extra jokes but also ideas about performance. There was one point in the "Pro Choice/Anti Idiot" routine that I found a way into a critical moment in the story with a hint of cheekiness that took the edge off what I was saying. Without giving too much away the routine (as you can imagine from the title) is provocative but I want to give it as much opportunity to succeed as possible so by taking the edge off it hopefully more people will jump on immediately. It appeared to work last night and this is something that I am looking forward to playing with again tonight.
I was pretty happy with this show. There are still some little changes that can be made. I can be a little more assured of some of the wording where it needs to be spot on. I've left areas that I can ad lib every night and I think I can make them even funnier now that I understand the show a little better. To make this show a winner I have to view it as a process. I am glad the process has begun and I'm feeling confident heading into this Adelaide Fringe season.
4th of March, 2014