Sunday, January 31, 2010

A night to remember

Here I am, drinking coffee after coffee trying to overcome the hangover not only of the after-show drinks, but of a truly inebriating night. Yesterday I felt restless all day and and I went to the Empire as early as it was allowed, in time for the 6pm sound check. Not that I had anything to check, I din't even try the microphone. But apparently everybody else was feeling the same, when I arrived, in fact, most acts were already there. So we all spent more than two hours moving relentlessly between the stage, the green room, the dressing room, the water cooler and, above all, the toilets. At the end even those two very long hours managed to pass and the show began. My position in the line-up was fifth in the first half, an almost ideal position, not too "cold audience" and not too "tired audience" either. Performers were asked to wait in the green room until called backstage, so for me the first three acts were just an almost incomprehensible voice coming form a cracking speaker. Amazing how being part of an event means the opposite of having a privileged perspective about it. Even when I went on stage I couldn't see the audience almost at all. I finally realized how packed and beautiful the theatre was when after the interval I joined a friend of mine to watch some acts from the upper circle. It was a breathtaking view and I was happy of not having seen it before my performance. Which, by the way, went very well, I felt concentrated but not tense, did my set without any hiccups and got some big laughs, which I milked in quite a "professional" way with long, reassured pauses. Everything felt a bit detached and remote, though, such a contrast from the terrifying experience of the Comedy Store! So, after seeing two or three acts from the gallery, and enjoying the sight of the audience members pointing at me as an instant and (very) local celebrity, I went back to the Green Room, waiting for the moment when the acts were called back to the stage for the results. And when we did the organizers announced that exceptionally a fourth place would be awarded. Now, I must confess a moment of hubris here: I thought for a moment that a fourth place could be in my reach. At end it wasn't me, it was one of the acts I couldn't manage to see (Andrew Ryan), while the first three (Abandoman, Inel Tomlison and Frisky & Mannish) were truly fantastic acts who normally play two or three leagues above me. I know, if I think that not even a truly original and amazingly well crafted act like Jo Selby's character Tatiana managed to get a placement I realize that it was indeed a moment of madness. But if I wasn't a bit mad I wouldn't be doing this. At the end I had a fantastic night, in an amazing theatre and in front of a wonderful audience, in which I managed to do a performance that did myself justice and demonstrated, I immodestly think, that I deserved to be there. Surely a night I will remember for a long time.

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