Now a couple of weeks ago you may remember I was terribly excited to be heading down to that there London to perform and I wrote a quick list of things that I had learnt so far whilst touring with Confessions that I felt sure stood me in good stead for the Big Smoke.
Well I wasn’t wrong.
Well, I wasn’t entirely wrong.
Now it has taken me a while to get round to writing this because it has taken me a while to gain perspective on the whole experience.
Are you beginning to get the picture that this wasn’t the performance dreams are made of?
Now I am not a negative person by nature, you can’t be when you are in this business and that is why I have taken a little break to gather my thoughts.
You see the only reason any one in their right mind would pursue work like mine is because they absolutely love it. In fact, it isn’t a reason, because you HAVE to love it so much that you have no option but to pursue it.
Now because so much of your heart and soul goes into this work, when things don’t go to plan, it can, not to be too dramatic about it, be heartbreaking.
So without further ado and without going down too cliched a route, here is a revised list of things I have learnt so far.
1. Know your material inside out and
2. The Show is never finished.
Now I highlighted the contradictory nature of these two points in the first list I made and looking back on London, I think I was caught slap bang in the middle of the no mans land that lies between them. I had already changed a lot of the technicalities of my show for this gig and 10 minutes before I was due on stage I was having to change even more. It was terrifying, and incredibly stressful, even now, when I think about it I can’t remember the performance. I do, however, have vague recollections of improvising with a huge bag of glitter and a cocktail umbrella.
3. People are my best props
Yeah, they are, but sometimes but you can’t rely on an audience and you have to just pretend that they are the audience you always wanted. Was that a small titter of laughter? Great, go with it, that’s the exact response you were looking for!
4. Book train tickets in advance
Oh, and if you are going to recite lines under your breath, explain to those in the near vicinity what you are doing, you don’t want to look like a loon.
5. The best marketing is a good idea.
Even in London, but you can’t change the weather, and some times you just have to admit that you would rather be in the sun too!
6. How to spell ‘restaurant’
And play down your northern accent.
And here is a few new ones!
7. If you had to fill in paper work, print out your own copy and take it with you!
8. And never under-estimate the power of health and safety
I hate that old line ‘it’s health and safety gone mad’ but when you are being told you can’t use a party popper because it contains gun powder, and “we’ve lost your new risk assessment so you can’t do anything that isn’t on the original one”, and you can see you show falling down around you, well, then, BAM here comes the inner diva.
9. Embrace the inner diva
“If you don’t get that second risk assessment down here now, I’m not going on, and I am NOT changing any more of this show, so you had better find a way of simulating a boiled kettle NOW.”
As an artist you have to be flexible, open to change and respect that other people have other priorities. But you worked damm hard on this show, and if they programmed you, then they have to take responsibility for this event, just as much as you do!
10. Sometimes, you just have to give yourself a break
You can be your own biggest critic and enemy, most of the time this is what drives you forward and you need to embrace it. Other times, you have to give yourself a break, things go wrong and it isn’t your fault. The audience had no idea about the stress surrounding the performance and they clapped and wooped and said ‘great show’ and who are you to disagree? You pulled it out the back despite all that, it isn’t how you wanted it to go, but you did it anyway.