I wrIte these blogs in the morning, which is perhaps why I have focused on the more business end of things of late. Come the morning I’m worrying about reviews, checking the sales reports and generally despairing of my lot, but today I wanted to talk about the feeling I get after the shows.
Before Johnny Bevan yesterday our projector (or rather the projector we are hiring at great expense from the venue) refused to give us the settings we spent 4 hours perfecting in tech. We had to use a much bigger image in the end and the show went up five minutes late. It was so frustrating and stressful to deal with right before a show, but it should be said that it’s standard fare for Edinburgh. The venues are held together very precariously and you simply don’t get the equipment and support you can expect on tour.
But. But. But. The moment I walked on stage all that frustration disappeared. The audience number had grown from the day before. Still not where we need it, but getting there! And they listened. They really listen to this show, you can see it on their faces. We all like to be listened too, right? That feeling is heightened by the fact that all the words are just as I want them. I’ve spent months and months writing, editing, cutting and practicing these words. And there are so many bits of the show I look forward to performing. I get a little pang of joy when I realise each one is approaching: the description of Johnny’s first talk with (at) Nick; the 1997 election scene; Nick’s first day as a student; the angry final scene in Johnny’s squat.
Yesterday was double good because I got a standing ovation from some of the audience. That’s twice that has happened with this show. At Latitude it was exciting but there were 900 people crammed into a tent, so there was a sense of occasion. When it happened yesterday in a room of 30 people it was amazing, sometimes it is hard to make an audience of 30 feel they are at a proper show, let alone have that happen. I feel blessed.
It’s always a dash after coming off stage. I change my shirt and sprint up the road to The Underbelly. And my mood has totally changed. It doesn’t matter about reviews and numbers and all the other shit that goes with Edinburgh. What matters is how that audience LISTENED; how I connected with them; how the story I spent months perfecting had done the work it was supposed to do.
After that, Stay-at-Home Dandy is a complete joy. On laugh count it’s easily my funniest show. And we all like making people laugh, right? I’ve got the links between poems really well worked out now. Again there are loads of bits I look forward to (I shan’t spoil the illusion of spontaneity by sharing them here). After the intensity of JB it’s great to just relax with a bunch of people who like poetry. It feels spontaneous and special.
Have I gone the other way now? Too gushy? Sure, I am part-tortured writer, but I’m part-luvvie too, so it comes with the territory. Performing my own work is my job, but mostly I only get to do it two or three times a week. Edinburgh is one of the few times I’m not underemployed. Yes, it’s a slog. Yes, it might bankrupt me. But mate! It’s good to be working.
Ps – The Daily Mail have reviewed Stay-at-Home Dandy! I got four stars, they said: “Luke Wright delivers up thought-provoking social commentary and rivetingly emotive wordplay, as he uses the minutiae of his life as a stay-at-home dad to put some stereotypes through the wringer. Powerful and poignant, with Wright an engaging presence.” They’re still scumbags though.