I haven’t been onstage since July 2009. Even with my limited maths skills I know that’s a bloody long time. But next month I will be back to perform my new solo show at the Fronterafest Short Fringe festival and to make sure I don’t back out, I’ve invited everyone I know. Now I just have to remember how to be an actor.
I act out of necessity. Not in an ‘acting is my lifeblood’ wanky kind of way. I act because it is usually the only way I can get my work performed. Given that my characters are always British and a bit self-deprecating, it’s not too much of a stretch for me. But I definitely prefer writing over acting and will happily work on script rewrites up to the very day of the show, at which point I will remember about the acting bit and run my lines a few more times.
During the early hours of this morning, a perfect time for rehearsing, I decided to dig through the old reviews for my last show from 2009, “Don’t Stop Me Now”. When I say reviews, I do mean just the one review, which you can read here.
Dan Solomon, excellent reviewer that he is, forgave many flaws in the show and gave me some fantastic quotes to use. “Gallant is subtle and insightful”; “Gallant’s clever and affecting script and impressive solo performance.” Unfortunately I cannot use these kinds of superlatives as they all sound very sarcastic when filtered through my head. Plus it’d be bragging, right mum?
Dan also called it a “brave performance”. Brave is an odd word for a stage show. Very appropriate when describing firemen or a children’s cancer ward, but not so much for a self-indulgent show about a girl’s lifelong obsession with Freddie Mercury.
I was in fact described as ‘brave’ earlier this year and I didn’t even have to get on a stage. I changed my hair color from mid brown to platinum blonde. This, combined with my short hair cut clearly marked me as something of a pioneer in the eyes of the woman calling me brave. Because as we all know, only long hair is sexy. Just ask Joan of Arc (dead, so it’ll have to be a rhetorical question). Joan apparently said that she kept her hair short to prevent men making sexual advances towards her. Same thing with me.
I did get a lot more comfortable as Dan’s review continued with these quotes: “the show starts to become a drag”; ”a show that’s conceptually strong, and a powerhouse for its first 45 minutes, doesn’t so much end as it farts out.” Now these are words a Brit can be proud of.
I will have many long-standing friends in the Fronterafest audience. This is pretty impressive for someone who has only been in the country for 12 years. These are friends who have sat through countless stand-up comedy shows, Funniest Person in Austin contests and my earlier Fronterafest performances. But I’ve also got people coming who know me only from my fear of box jumps and my ability to do an unassisted pull-up at the gym. Fearing their high expectations, I wish I could lower the bar, but my Crossfit/Lean Lifting coach threatens us if we dare put our bars down. Honestly.
I’m not even sure how I feel about this show. It’s evolved a long way from its original concept and it deals with the always crowd pleasing topics of alzheimer’s and suicide. And I sing. I want it to be good; I hope people see the funny in it and that they understand my ridiculous Russian accent.
I shall now spend a few minutes visualizing the brilliant reviews Gallant is going to receive after this performance. Because if you believe it, it will happen. The Secret said so. After that I will start rehearsing. Absolutely definitely.