So on Thursday I traveled to Newcastle to go to Northern Stage and show what I have so far of The Story of a Waiting Man at their scratch event, First in Three.
It was a lovely day out. Both my sister and my brother live there so I got to see them, and met my sisters cats. I like cats.
First off, a bit about Northern Stage and the people there. The building is lovely, it’s set in a small section of the University but still right near the city centre. Inside there is a lovely bar, you can get all sorts of beautiful beers, some lovely coffee and fantastic food. There’s also three stages. I didn’t get to see stage 1 & 2, first in three took place in stage 3. Stage 3 is a lovely one down stairs of the main spaces. It has a bar at the back of the space, which saved people having to go up and down stairs to get a drink between shows. I also found out that the larger two spaces can be joined to make one, epic, massive stage. One day I would like to see that, sounds pretty impressive.
The people involved were lovely. I didn’t get to see them very much as my tech run lasted all of 10 minutes. It’s not a very complicated show to tech, mostly involves lights coming up, and going off. However I did speak to Jo and Mark, the two responsible for first in three, and I watched them host the evening. They seem to be two people genuinely excited about new theatre and new theatre makers and dedicated to supporting the development of the arts.
Now to the evening. For the sake of not writing an incredibly long post, I’m going to save telling you about the other performances that took place till tomorrow. Look forward to that. They were very interesting and there was a fair bit of variety.
So I performed it. I was incredibly nervous before going on, which is both odd and understandable. Odd, because I have not been that nervous before a performance in several years. Understandable because for a start I have never done a solo show before, so I had no one to support me or help me out if I screwed up (which I didnt, it’s not something I usually do, but it is still always a possibility). I was mostly nervous because this is the first show that I have made that is entirely my creation. Short of a few helpful suggestions and a bit of proof reading, everything I showed to the audience in Newcastle was of my creation. This meant that if people didn’t like it that it was what I made that they didn’t like, I’d have no one else to share the blame with. That is a scary prospect.
Anyway, I didn’t mess up, which is nice. I did shorten a lot of the pauses, which may have been a good or a bad thing, still need to think on that. The reason that I shortened them was because, the show, being about waiting, has a lot of gaps in the text in order to create a sense of waiting and time passing. I got scared of these long pauses that involved me, standing on stage whilst the audience sat, watching, waiting for me to do something. Still, I performed well, I think anyway, and got a nice warm applause at the end which was a relief. I sat down, my sister gave me a glass of wine and then a man tapped me on the shoulder.
He began by telling me that he really enjoyed it, he thought it was well thought out, well written and well performed. This was a massive relief. To come off stage, having been so nervous about performing a piece of my own, and be told by a stranger that he really enjoyed it is a fantastic feeling. He told me how he felt it was Pinteresque in its writing and performance. This is something I have got a lot, particularly in my feedback forms (not always as a positive) It seems that if you write or perform anything on stage that has pauses and is about waiting, the link everyone makes is Waiting for Godot. I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I have never read that particular play. Therefore any connection that can be made is either subconscious on my part, or the result of a world where everything has to be a reference to something else. Food for thought. Later as I was packing up to leave I made a bit of a tit of myself by dropping a suitcase full of paper cranes on the floor. A man came and helped me put them away and spent a bit of time talking to me about the piece. He didn’t seem as bowled over as the first man I spoke to, but nonetheless he seemed to find it intriguing.
Overall, it was a positive experience. I’ve just looked at how long this post is already, and thus decided that I will also tell you about the feedback I received from the audience in my next post. I will say this. There is some good, some negative, some people didn’t get the concept at all and there is a lot for me to think about and keep in mind as I continue developing the piece. I’m at a bit of a loss for how to do that right now so I’m going to take a step back, at least until after Paper People have shown Uncanny Corner in Leicester and Here We Remain in Liverpool. No need to overwork myself.
Anywho, another post tomorrow. Look forward to that.