Every night in Perth I’m doing a show, I get an automated email at 8.30pm to tell me how many tickets I’ve sold when they’re no longer on sale through the box office.
The more I think about tickets being unavailable through the official box office an hour before the show starts, the less it makes sense. Although tickets can still be bought on the door.
Anyway, I often don’t need this report as I’ve been closely monitoring numbers throughout the day.
Last night, my automated email said that only 11 people had bought tickets for the show. Despite achieving my Edinburgh Fringe 2014 target of double figures, it didn’t feel good for it to be my lowest audience of the run so far.
Shortly after I arrived a the venue, one lad came up and asked if he could buy a ticket on the door and if there were many available. He was in luck, there was plenty.
Ten out of the 11 pre-booked folk were seated. One person bought a ticket in advance but didn’t show up. This doesn’t matter though, because I have their money anyway.
Then a very odd thing happened. Just as the show was due to start, a group of ten people showed up and all paid on the door. So I had thus doubled my audience in an instant.
‘Very odd’ is a fitting phrase to use, as it was my strangest show of the fringe. The pre-booked folk were spread out across the front two rows, but the third row was left entirely empty and the walk-up group were sitting in the fourth row.
I later learned that the walk-up people didn’t know what show it was they were going to see, which explains a lot. They were all in their early 20s and had been drinking, so I had to step in early on to stop them chipping in and whispering to each other.
The show took a while to get going and bits that normally get big laughs received a few sporadic titters. Then I addressed the empty third row, saying that’s what I demand for all my gigs, and it got things nicely back on track.
It had been weird, but I’d enjoyed the challenge of having to adapt the show when it wasn’t going as intended. I now have three shows left of the run.
When I left the venue to get my post show burger and chips, it had been raining outside. How happy I was to get a feeling of home. It cooled everything down nicely.
As I sat on eating on a bench, I never thought that having a wet arse would be so comforting.
Now there’s a sentence I didn’t think I’d ever write.