My last post is dated the 31st of July. Today is the 4th of August. That means I have 5 days to fill you in about. 5 days. 5 days. I know I did something in those days, but the order is a little hazy. Which is only slightly to do with sleep deprivation. But I must record every last day of my 20’s! Even if I’m not doing new things! Even if it is ridiculous and repetitive! It is an act of… art! I think! Possibly! A long-form art project! Perhaps someone could give me money for it? Yes, yes, give me all the monies. Please, thank you.
Apologies. I have given myself the afternoon off from plays and fringe and flyering and etc. and apparently that gives me full licence to do and feel whatever the hell I like. In particular, let all the crazy out onto the blog and stop it wreaking havoc in my head and gut. Yes? Yes.
Sometimes I do really like writing when sleep deprived. And drunk. Drunk-writing is good too. Everything sounds good then.
Um. Yes. Edinburgh Fringe. The 1st of August. GO.
I saw more shows. Is that boring to you yet? Sorry, but its the truth. I went to a friend’s children’s show about doing the laundry which was delightfully diverting, though I did feel like I should have stolen a child on the way in just to really enhance my experience. That’s a legitimate reason for child abduction, right? To properly enjoy children’s theatre? I would also have read them some Harry Potter afterwards. No one would prosecute me for that?
Ha. Jokes (Please don’t investigate me, UK police).
That afternoon my producer and I started flyering, which (I may have mentioned) I was dreading. But people were, on the whole, very kind, very happy to take flyers and some even stopped and spoke to me about the show. I was utterly delighted. I don’t know what I thought would happen – perhaps people spitting in my face for making jokes about child abduction – but like most things in my life, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. After a short break flyering I headed to ‘Red Bastard’, which I had gotten comp tickets for. It was amazing and I admitted far too many honest things about… things than I shouldn’t have spoken about in front of a group full of strangers (I’m not even willing to commit the same things to the blog! Not even going to give you a hint of them! You must realise how serious these things were, then, considering what I commit to this blog. At least what was heard verbatim in a theatre show has deniability. This blog does not).
Anyways. After more cheese and carbs (the only required food groups at #EdFringe), I went out and saw my housemates perform their cabaret show Sugar and Vice. I had seen it at Brighton Fringe, but it was just as good the second time around. Especially when some guy admitted that the reason he hadn’t been able to have sex with a girl he liked was because he set fire to his apartment when arranging a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. Fun times!
The best thing about #EdFringe (too much Twitter, sorry), however, is all the new people you meet. So my producer and I hung out with a friend of my housemate’s all night, who turned out to know some family friends of mine from Berry (weird) and she was wonderful. We were then joined by some lovely Scottish men – it was uncertain whether or not they were trying to make fun of us, pick us up or just wanted to chat. Either way, they were fun. One of them is the sound guy for a Scottish folk music centre (!!!!!!!) who obviously very quickly became my favourite person I have ever met at a thing ever. Especially when he gave me his number and told me to message him if I wanted to get in for free (ok, now it sounds like he was trying to pick me up. But, I swear it was much more confusing and less obvious than all that #BlurredLines, am I right, #RobinThicke? #HighFive. WOAH. Hashtag overload, Jen. #GetoffTwitter)
We did some *serious* flyering on Friday after a nice little sleep-in (oh those late nights chatting to new friends). More free tickets to various shows and then I had my first shift at Underbelly for Hot Dub Time Machine. I was mildly distressed to realise that my first shift came the night before my opening show, but I had agreed to this and I thought that with an afternoon nap, I should be able to do it. The shift itself was fantastic. Hot Dub Time Machine is a long dance party, where they play the biggest hit from each year from 1954 onwards to the present day. There are also fabulous videos that show the video clips for the songs or teach you the dance moves for each song. Every song that comes on, you’re like, ‘I LOVE this song! This is my FAVOURITE song!’ Until the next song comes on and then you’re all, ‘oh, wait, no THIS is my favourite song!’ None of them are played all the way through and the highlight is when hundreds of red balloons are dumped on the audience in the middle of ’99 Red Balloons’. Best. Party. Ever.
I was on the smoking area door with a lovely Scottish security guard/paramedic named Andrew whose accent and height meant it was difficult to hear a lot of what he was saying (most of it went straight over my head. Literally. Gettit?) He was great fun though and did bad dancing with me and one of the other FOH girls, which not only amused us but got us many fans from the punters. Turns out girls love tall Scottish security guards who dance and guys love girls who check their entry stamps with a smile and some air guitar.
We finished work at 4:45am and I headed straight home and collapsed into bed. Technically it was now…
Opening day! Opening show! I was terrified! I was exhausted! I walked to the venue with my producer and had an extremely depressing conversation with her about the fact that I had no idea what I was doing with this whole ‘theatre’ thing and nobody paid me money for anything and nobody wanted my plays in their seasons and no-one wanted to give me money and I had no idea how to make it sustainable and was I even happy doing this stuff at all and I had no other skills so I had no other options and besides all that was the work any good because, after all, nobody seemed to want to pay me money or collaborate with me (not even my friends seemed to want to collaborate) and woe is me, everything was just bad bad bad and to top it all off I had put myself in the freakin’ Edinburgh Fringe, paying so much money to go and stand in a venue where there would be no people and perform an hour-long show to a load of unappreciative empty chairs who wouldn’t get all my Richard Curtis jokes.
But the strangest thing happened around midday. People started heading to the venue. They were clutching my flyers and looking expectantly towards me. Could they go inside yet? Was the show on yet? Oh good God, this was possibly worse than the other possibility.
You see, I have done a lot of solo shows, but in the end most of the people that have seen those solo shows are my friends and family. Over and over again. Not that I’m complaining about that. They’re extremely supportive and lovely. But the fact of the matter is that my audiences are usually made up in large part by people who already know me, plus maybe a couple of their friends and then a few random people who have wandered in off the street (how did you find me random people? How? Why? The miracles of the world).
So, as I started my very first #EdFringe show, I stared into a sea of faces I had never seen before in my entire life and pondered the possibilities of my first real great test of my abilities as a performer and writer. Would they like me? Would they get me? Would they care?
All I can say is that it was a wonderful, wonderful show. The audience was so warm, so genuinely encouraging. Just 13 people, but it was such a perfect size that I wouldn’t have wanted any more. After the incredibly depressing talk on the way to the show, the walk home was full-to-bursting with the happiest, warmest feelings I have ever experienced in my life. I knew I had 20 more shows to go, but having the first show go so well made me feel so much happier and more confident. Suddenly the whole festival seemed achievable and worth it.
After a nap that evening I went in for my second Hot Dub Time Machine shift. This time I got to spend half of the shift inside the actual dance hall, watching the videos, singing along to the songs, dancing as much as I could whilst still retaining a sense of dignity and responsibility for those dancing on the ground. There were about double the amount of people as the night before and I spent a lot of time pulling punters off their friends’ shoulders, which was strangely… I don’t know. They listened to me is all. People don’t always listen to me when I tell them they can’t do something. It was kind of thrilling (oh dear, this is how despots get their start, isn’t it?) as well as being completely unexpected. I am glad they listened to me. I didn’t really have much of a back-up plan if they had said no and stayed on their friends’ shoulders. They just made sad faces, which is surprisingly easy to ignore. Jenny the Fun Killer! (no, that’s not fair. Jenny the FOH Officer Who Really Truly Cares About the Health and Safety of Her Patrons. That’s fair).
Seeing the show on the inside was incredible. It really is such a good party and I have been recommending it to everyone I talk to. The videos are great, the music is so well chosen and the DJ (an Australian, of course), is so lovely and charming and charismatic. I have some very strange favourite moments of the set, including the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song (which I wasn’t even a fan of when it was on TV), Bittersweet Symphony and, for whatever reason, The Killers’ Mr. Brightside, which had such an emotional impact on me last night that I had to listen to it on repeat for the last hour this afternoon. I’m still uncertain of the reasons behind my sudden attachment to this song. No doubt I’ll work it out in a few months. Or maybe not.
We finished earlier whilst doing twice as much work and it was now…
Today today! It was much harder waking up this morning than yesterday. I kept telling myself that I would wake up along the way to the venue. But on the inside I was secretly kind of hoping no one would turn up to the show and we could cancel it. Part of me was also going, ‘oh, wouldn’t it be nice if I had only booked one show for the #EdFringe and yesterday was it and now I just had the whole festival ahead of me to enjoy and meet nice people and see good shows?’ Of course if I had done that I wouldn’t have been satisfied as I would have had no reviewers and none of my friends would have seen it.
And of course, I wouldn’t have actually been happy if no-one turned up. So, it was with relief I heard from my producer that I had an audience of 4 women. It was a very different show, not only because I was exhausted. I managed to get through it though, which was the main thing. I then found out one of my audience members was a reviewer. So, yay, kind of, because we wanted reviewers, except I was not at all certain of the quality of my performance. Which was a real shame considering how happy I had been the day before. All we can do now is wait. And hope it’s not an absolute massacre.
I came home and had a snooze this afternoon and have been sitting in bed being very lazy, which I feel I deserve. Lots of bonnet drama watching and writing and reading and social media-ing. Just what I needed on a Sunday afternoon. I don’t have to work tonight, so I’m taking the opportunity to catch up on sleep (and blogging) and see another show or two. Catch you later dudes!