I expected a audience of six, tops, at Washington Arts Centre last night.
I nearly fainted when it turned out there were 27 people there for my preview. I seem to either pessimistically underestimate or optimistically over estimate my audiences.
The preview was originally going to be more of a dress rehearsal. It’s weird to do stand up comedy without an audience. But it’s weird to do a theatre piece in front of an audience until it’s ready to be seen. You don’t tend to get actors stepping out of a Shakespeare monologue going “Ooh, that bit didn’t work…To be or not to be…perhaps that sounds a bit indecisive”. The idea had therefore been to try do a hybrid thing in front of sympathetic audiences- but this one turned into a preview because otherwise I would only be doing one proper pre Edinburgh preview, which seems to be A Bad Thing.
Because Kate Fox News contains stand up and almost theatre, it’s been hard to rehearse. I’ve been working with Tess the director for a few days now and we’ve mainly been rewriting and reshuffling the poems and linking bits to get the story to make sense. Audiences at two early rehearsals wanted to know more about some things I casually mentioned (like my first boyfriend being a gun runner for example) that I had previously dropped into the show and hoped no one would notice too much. I’ve now tried to build up to them a bit more. Even putting them in a blog. Cunning.
This was the first show where I had no script at all, and having just finished rewriting on Thursday there were some bits I completely left out and was kicking myself for afterwards. On the positive side, shifting my news poem to the beginning of the show worked well. I’d just written one that morning for Saturday Live, the Radio 4 show I do topical poems for, about Boris’s bikes in London. It seems easier to say “look, here’s the story of how I became a newspoet” if I start off by showing I actually am one.
Annabel from ARC who’s one of the co producers of the show said I shouldn’t do anything today. Nothing at all. My husband promised her he’d make sure I didn’t and has done excellent work on the bringing me cups of tea and bacon sandwiches and soon Sunday dinner front. We also watched a Thick of It special, which was great,and the start of The Adventures of Benjamin Button, which proved too slow, even for a day on which I’m not doing anything at all.
Apart from setting up this blog. And worrying about the bits I left out last night and how the bit about when I worked in radio news still doesn’t say enough and how I’m up early for a Radio Newcastle interview tomorrow, and then a Radio Tees interview and then the official preview at ARC, never mind doing laundry and packing to spend a month in Edinburgh….arggh! Must continue to being brought foodstuffs and looking forward to the excellent Sherlock Holmes and not thinking for a while about that thing I’m doing for a whole month from Wednesday. What thing? Edin where? And sleep…