There it is, beating away on the horizon. This time next week I would have done three Edinburgh shows already. In the build up my mood constantly changes from terror to complacency to excitement to nerves to just stupid giggling, all in the time it takes me to finish my cornflakes.
I have to keep reminding myself that this is all entirely self-inflicted. I don’t have to do this, nobody tells you to take shows to Edinburgh, which is why it’s beautiful, and incredibly personal.
It’s strange being producer and performer; you have to have split personalities and keep trying to sell the show even when you really feel like wrapping yourself in a duvet and being a hermit for a few days.
For instance I’ve spent the last couple of days putting together a promoter pack about the show, which is all the technical, cast and show information a possible promoter/booker would need to book the show after Edinburgh for performances and tours etc.
In the eyes of a performer most promoters are mysterious people that hang around bars like ninjas of the night. They don’t seem to have names, and nobody seems to know who they are, only that ‘some promoters are floating about’. It’s not even clear what they’re actually promoting. I wonder if they even exist.
I might turn up in Edinburgh wearing a sheepskin jacket with a big sign above my head saying “I am a promoter”. Perhaps they are shy creatures, like the wild haggis that live on Arthur’s seat.
We’ve also been sending our flyers and posters to print. One of our cast, Jon Monkhouse, has done an amazing job on the design so I’m really happy about that.
I’ve also been allocating lots of random odd jobs by text like “can you buy a step ladder/make a sandwich board please?” I feel like I’ve become the Mr. Boring of the group who sends people a trickle of dull shopping lists. As one of the cast is also my girlfriend I have developed the persona of Formal Steve so we don’t get these roles muddled up.
These odd jobs include buying things in London as if Edinburgh doesn’t have any shops. I found myself thinking ‘better get some razor blades before I go’, as if nobody in Scotland shaves. I’m sure they have a Boots, BUT WHAT IF THEY DON’T???? The horror.
The cast also had a pre-Edinburgh discussion that revolved around what they thought they would be like to live with. Turns out half the cast are early risers, half the cast are night owls, and Jon doesn’t like it if someone is in the toilet too long in the morning.
Other jobs this week have included sending out a second wave of press releases. The first batch were done at the time of the programme release so I was hoping this batch were going to have a new angle, or some piece of news. Actually this didn’t happen, so in the end reading between the lines of our second batch of press releases they basically said “Errrr, hello, me again, remember me? Ha ha ha, aren’t we such good friends! Remember me? Anyway, nothing’s really changed, same show thing going on, if you fancy it.”
It’s a bit of a paradox writing to reviewers when you’re also one of the performers. My producer side of me knows I have to do it for the sake of the show and use reviews however I can to sell to tickets, whereas the performer side of me is like a frightened little slow loris that wants to hide underneath a table. A similar paradox happens with acting sometimes, where you want to act but don’t want to be seen, and a huge leap comes from opening yourself and making yourself available.
In previous Edinburgh shows I’ve had everything from 1 star to 5 star reviews for various shows I’ve been in. One show I was in got a 1 star and 4 star review from the same publication in the same week. This feels likes having your ego used as a football. Eventually what seems to happen in Edinburgh though is that the performer’s ego just takes a holiday, which is when the really interesting stuff happens.
I’ve been fanatically checking ticket sales. We’ve actually sold some in advance which we really weren’t expecting as we’re a new group, and it’s done wonders for our morale. Not loads, but some, and that feels good.
To chill out a bit George (girlfriend) and I went to see Wicked last night. Being readers of whatsonstage.com you’ve probably seen it about five times already, so I won’t have to tell you how amazing it was, although it was amazing. It did however make me realize that maybe I should change our flyer copy from “everything you could want from a musical” to “everything you could want from a musical, apart from a fire breathing dragon, flying monkeys, full orchestra and frightening talking wizard head”.
See you soon!