Monday, August 8, 2011

An (almost) perfect day

Was it really four days ago that we started the show in front of two people? Today I had to move twice to make room for more and more audience members. At one point Alice looked me and asked: "How did that happen?". You never really now, but it was probably a combination of the rain, the cumulative effect of the heavy flyering in the past three days, the festival getting into his full throttle and maybe a bit of word of mouth. And we didn't waste this opportunity, we had a very rewarding show. The day hadn't started that well for me. While having breakfast in a café I had bumped into a German comedian friend of Alice who had come to see us the night before, somebody who never performed here but apparently is big in Germany. I made the worst possible error a performer can make: I asked him what he thought of my set. First he struggled to say anything at all, then he just said that my attitude was "too aggressive", while failing to say anything about my material apart from the truly deflating "you'll get better lines during the run". Now, a "normal" person in a "normal" situation would have probably forgot the remark, but there is nothing "normal" about the Fringe. It's such a demanding experience that your confidence is constantly exposed to anything that might even vaguely affect it. More than one person told me that there should be a counselling service for performers, and probably there is, but at least we comedians have a great advantage over other types of performers: we can say whatever we want on the stage and we can make a joke of whatever happens to us. This year I have decided that whatever affects me will find its way into the show, not only because it's best way to deal with it, but also because it's the best way to keep the show "true" to how I'm feeling in the moment. So I cracked the quite easy but at the end very effective line "I have been told that my stage attitude is too aggressive... by a German", got a big laugh and, with it, a fully restored confidence. With a big "Fragile" written across it, just in case.

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