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First night

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A few years back I took a weekend workshop called The Mastery. It’s a cross between an acting class and a cult. There were lots of tears, laughing and screaming and through it I met one of my best friends.

The cult leader, Van Brooks is very clever and manipulative – in a kindly, benevolent dictator kind of way – and made us all feel like we could achieve anything. Which of course in nice in theory, but just doesn’t work in the real world. I mean if everyone followed their dreams there’d be no-one to do the crappy stuff. 

Some pretty intense stuff came out of the weekend but Van would never be rattled by it. You’d occasionally hear him take in a deep breath after someone had exposed their personal demons. But most often he’d just say:

‘well that happened, what’s next?’

It was the perfect response to an emotional situation. And it’s my response to last night’s show.

I have to admit to being pretty nervous beforehand. It was my first show of the Long Fringe and also the biggest in terms of audience numbers, the majority of whom were my incredibly supportive friends. Contrary to opinion, friends in the audience doesn’t make it easier. In my experience with stand-up it’s easier to play to strangers. If they don’t like you, they don’t wait around after to tell you. With friends, there can be a world of difference between ‘you were great’ and ‘you were great’. Ok, you need to be here with me, to hear the difference between them.

The show is pretty technical – lots of light and sound cues and props and costumes and set pieces so there’s a lot to remember and a lot that can go wrong. And because of the FronteraFest schedule, there’s a rush to get set-up and a rush to strike your set. And the FronteraFest staff don’t cut you any slack.

I felt quite emotional yesterday morning, thinking a lot about my dad. I then went to my acting class and was quite tearful. Fortunately, my acting teacher doesn’t believe in emotion so I had to stop wallowing and focus on the class. Faffed around for most of the afternoon, got a beautiful bouquet of roses from my dear friend Amanda, cried a bit more and left for the theatre.

The show was, in my director’s words, ‘fine’. Not really what you want to hear, but it’ll do. My main goal for the evening was DON’T SCREW UP. It’s a pretty simple goal really and perhaps instead of having lofty goals and dreams, as per my point above, people should just adopt this mantra. If everyone from pizza delivery guy to president abided by my ethos, then the country, nay the world would be brilliant. I am a global problem solver.

And I didn’t screw up. I didn’t skip pages of text, I didn’t forget cues or costume changes or props. I didn’t butcher the accents, and really who would know if I did? It was indeed, fine and at times, I even had fun out there. Today, I’m aiming for a step above. I’m not sure what comes after fine – is it good?, v. good? great? I’m working my way towards brilliance for my last show.

I think last night’s show may be reviewed. I know Barry P is reviewing two shows for the Chron but not mine. Someone was taking photos last night so it could have been a reviewer. Hope he/she didn’t hate it. Hope I look good in the photos. On the good side, I’ve heard that the reviews will only be 200 words each so how much damage can they do?