I'm super conflicted about today.
I felt like it was the best show so far on paper and performance-wise- the placement of new material worked well, and I emoted everything with everything I had. Yet I feel I bungled the execution.
I rushed out to do extra flyering and forgot to set up my pre-show and post-show music. I forgot to turn the audience lights off- generally, it doesn't matter as it's a daytime show with unblocked windows but today it was cloudy which really made a difference. I turned them off during the show and made self-deprecating jokes about it. This tone bled into the rest of the show and I apologised for a decent amount of it. I was going for bumbling, self-effacing charm as a defence and I can really see now that it isn't for me and doesn't work. It's a crutch.
When I got to Long Hexagons, a piece of stand-up that deliberately doesn't work, I hadn't built up the trust I needed to make it work, to make them wait for the payoff. The material didn't stand out in the way it needed to. I could feel this and got flustered, flubbing a few lines and missing a joke.
The good thing is that this is all really easily fixed. Go over my set again. Get in early and do a ticklist. Run through the show tonight. it's all within my control. And it's great that I'm worrying about the show rather than audience quantity or quality. I have pre-books above my >3 goal for the rest of my run, and these people were properly lovely. My ACMS prestige is coming through now people have recovered from that midnight-3am marathon, I had Daisy from Ingenious Fools who has been my booking agent while Susanna has been on maternity leave, I had a few people I had a chat with while flyering. I got some nice tweets and Instagrams.
I had a couple who told me they'd been sent by Alice Fraser. Alice has seen me once, in like 2018-19? It's been a good while. She is brilliant, award-winning, and charming. I had no idea I was still on her radar. We did the Troy Club in London, Andrew O'Neill's gig, and it was winter I remember that. I was an open spot and she was the paid headliner. She was wonderful and complementary then. It was just such a lovely, touching surprise. I've thanked her and I can't wait to see her show Cronos on Saturday if I can get tickets. . I've been dreading getting reviewed, and the goal of this fringe is to enjoy it, but getting shout outs and compliments from comedians I admire has been so good. Being in Andrew O'Neill's top 10 picks of the fringe, Wil Hodgson telling me he loved it, and now this from Alice Fraser. It means a lot from people who are in the arena, as Brene Brown would say.
The actual best part of the run though is talking with people afterwards. In The Art of Asking, musician Amanda Palmer refers to her post-show signing/meet and greets as "the cuddle after sex". It does feel weirdly lonely when people don't stay to chat a little. I love the bucket for that reason. I know people who hate asking for money, but I think I've read that book a few times now and I think it's had some effect.
I had a woman stay behind for a chat today, she talked about how the show had really affected her. Her mother had lost her mother to suicide when she was a similar age, it resonated. I've never wanted kids- I was the only child in my family, no cousins or anything. As an early, die-hard feminist, I resented the expectation.
When I was struggling to come out as a lesbian, I mourned the fact that I was, by default, opting out of a normal family life in the future. Children wouldn't be a natural progression but an awkward legal and financial process. And, now I'm 25, and my body is having other ideas. I look at babies in a different way now. I met my agent Susanna's baby, Curtis, at work last week, and for the first time, I could see why people want them.
I worry that I couldn't be a mother. In the show I talk openly about one of my suicide brushes and my poor mental health, something which runs in the family. I learned recently about generational trauma- how molecules attached to your DNA record traumatic incidents and alter how genes are expressed: the children of people who survived famines, the holocaust, and other traumas carry that with them. It seemed like a final nail in the coffin for me. I can't pass all this on.
I told her this, this lovely person who was confiding with me after my show. Not all of this of course, I'm not trauma dumping. I would say that's for the show, but it's really not. That trauma is processed and has jokes. Just something like "I'm glad to see she had children, I worry, what with everything, that I couldn't do it". She teared up and told me that she had the best mum. We hugged it out. It was good to hear. I've not really told anyone this before.
I've had the rest of the day off really. Saw Leslie Ewing-Burgesse's very silly show Nebula which was wonderful, but I've had 2 late nights in a row and I think that's also had an effect on my brain. Had a nap and still feel off. I've pulled out of a midnight show and will get to bed for more sleep so tomorrow's show can be the best it can be.
Armadillo staging. Initially, I had the Armadillo picture and my clothing change on a chair laid out as normal, but my stage is so small this halved my usable area and the stage got so cluttered that it was hard to move around at the end of the show. I moved it to the window, but now it's a reach get it and it has made the Armadillo reveal clunky. I don't know if it's worth it, so I'm going to try a different chair position that will eliminate a front-row seat but should be a good compromise.
52 motorheads, clicky knees. Still working out the transition with these. This was the closest, but I think having 52 motorheads in between Cows 2 and 3 ruined the emotional flow, so I'm going to put it earlier. The clicky knees needs to go back to it's original position.
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