Monday, July 31, 2006

Post-Fringe post

I slept late today, until 8 a.m., resting up after the Kansas City Fringe Festival.

Whew! It went well, I think. I had three performances of Blood, Guts, Spies and Fat Naked Ladies, with modest audiences. Fringe artists need to hawk their wares, work the street and the press to get people to come to the shows, but with my busy summer schedule, it was all I could do to send out e-mails and make up handbills to pass around on the days of the performances. Next time maybe I'll be able to do better. Still, the title brought in a few curious listeners.

The venue was an old garage, with minimal lighting--the owner locked up some of the circuit boxes so we couldn't use them. No problem, there were spotlights for the stage area and a few house lights. Brian Eby was an excellent sound tech for all the shows in this venue. There was a huge (fringe) benefit in this space: it was air conditioned! On this weekend the heat index hit 104 degrees fahrenheit (40 celsius) and not all venues had A/C. I saw fans being carted around to other spaces, as well as coolers of water and ice.

The performance on Friday night might have been the best, with the most advantageous time-slot (8 p.m.), the largest audience, and my strongest rendition of the show. That's also the performance that I forgot to record. I had my new mini-disc recorder all set up, just forgot to press the buttons. Dang.

Saturday's 5 p.m show was tricky. I woke up with a weird little stomach bug, so spent most of the day lying low, hoping the fever and headache would subside (I'll spare you other details). The good thing is that when I'm performing, I'm not aware of most physical ailments.

I had a reasonably strong show, despite the distractions of the volunteer in the back of the house--he opened the door a number of times, rattled bottles, answered his phone, talked with folks coming in, and most offensive of all, used the bathroom that was just to the side of the stage area while I was performing. I understand he's also a performer, so he should have known better.

One of the audience members told me afterwards that his wife was annoyed by the distractions, but that he was so engaged he blocked all intrusions out. He had an interesting comment: "Your story was really compact, like an English novel." It's true that this piece is dense, requiring the audience to listen carefully. There are discrete parts to it, so missing a little piece doesn't mean the listener misses the whole show.

I woke on Sunday feeling much better, though still weedy. By the time I drove in to KC, I was ready for the performance. It went well. Small but appreciative audience at this 2 p.m. show on another oven-hot day. I was able to talk with the new volunteers about keeping distractions to a minimum, and they did, up until the very end, when there was some coming and going--not as bad as the day before, though.

I didn't see as many of the other shows as I would have liked. I'm glad I got to see Joyce Slater's funny (and instructive?) piece, Pissing in Rome, a scatalogical look at European travel, which was quite fun, and I caught Dan Bernitt's show, Thanks for the Scabies, Jerkface! Nice fluidity of style and use of language. Dan has been on the Fringe circuit this summer, so this was his 25th performance of this show.

I remembered to record Saturday and Sunday. At some point I'll listen, but today I need to get ready for the four-day writing workshop at the Juvenile Detention Center that starts tomorrow.

P.S. Tim E., I'm sorry I never sent you my publicity for this Fringe--as you can see, I didn't get everything together until after the NSN conference.

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