On Monday, I had a much-needed day off from both of my shows.
HTWAPQ continues to be a delight and is sold-out nearly every day, with Stop the Press proving to be a hard slog.
Before Sunday’s STP, the couple of hours of heavy rain meant I was unable to do much flyering without getting utterly drenched.
With my day off ever-nearing, I hoped no-one would turn up just so I could start my day break early and have a think about ways to improve the show.
Seven people did arrive, including a couple who witnessed my heroics earlier in the day at HTWAPQ.
Sometimes, performing in front of seven people can be a lot of fun. Unfortunately, this wasn’t one of them. I struggled to connect with both my material and the audience, with everything falling flat.
In the back of my mind, I just wanted it to be over so I could reach my day off. This is perhaps the worst mindset to have for any gig, as the chances of you enjoying it are pretty much zero. Consequently, the audience are even less likely to enjoy it.
People made an effort to my show and what I provided was perhaps one of my most shambolic performances ever. Even when things are going badly, I usually at least get a perverse kick out of it. This time, I hated every second. I think it is probably going to be my lowest point of the Fringe.
So, when things aren’t going well, you have two choices. Either you give up, or you make an effort to improve things.
To find somewhere quiet to go through my set, I returned to the terrace at The Place hotel, which was where my shows were for the past couple of Fringes.
As lovely as Stand 2 is, I do miss that terrace where I could just sit and relax after my show. I would also often be bought pints by my audience, which is the main thing I’m missing this year.
I went through my set did a bit of editing, changed a few things around, and cut other bits. Then as if by magic, Tuesday’s show was significantly better. A break did me good and it was reassuring to know that the last seven months I’ve spent writing this haven’t been a complete waste of time.
I’ve realised the difference between why one show goes so well and why the other doesn’t tend to. A large part is down to certainty and assurance in the material. I know HTWAPQ works, so even if it sometimes takes the audience a little while to get on board, I know they will eventually. STP is still taking shape before my very eyes and I’ve yet to do a gig where everything works exactly as intended, so I will do my best to fake certainty and assurance in the meantime.
The show is not where I want it, but it’s improved since the Fringe began. It will be a relief when I’ve finished the STP run, although I would happily continue HTWAPQ every day for at least another six months.