Feedback on The Waiting Man and future plans

So here is my final blog post relating to my trip to Newcastle. It is the feedback I received from some of the audience at Fits in Three. Then, as I’m sure you are all interested to hear, I’m going to tell you what I plan to do from here.

So overall I felt the feedback was positive. Not everyone liked it, but that is to be expected. After all it isn’t finished. Also it is a bit different, as well as trying to paint a picture of an anonymous man waiting for an unknown thing, I am also trying to create the feeling of a long wait. I understand that it can be frustrating for an audience to be made to wait, after all, no one enjoys waiting. That’s something I need to consider as I carry on with the show.

First good point, everyone that mentioned the actual performance said that it was good. I got comments about good stage presence and charisma and even several comments saying that it was a brave performance that held its nerve whilst asking the audience to sit, patiently and wait for something new to happen.

Next, several mentions of Pinter and Waiting for Godot. Some of these were positive, some were not. There was a man that I talked to shortly after walking offstage, he liked that it was reminiscent of Pinter and Godot. Some of the feedback assumed that it was what I was going for and said that it was not achieved. That’s fine except that it wasn’t what I was going for. Maybe I need to have a look at either going further into the reference or distancing myself from it.

The two, key criticisms that I need to work a lot on are pacing and giving the audience a bit more.

Pacing is something that I was aware of. The piece, being about waiting, is naturally slow in rhythm and pace. This can however get a bit dull and tedious. This was mentioned in nearly every bit of feedback I received. What I need to do is introduce some faster and slower rhythms to punctuate the piece, there are already a few of these in the show, the juggling and smoking section, but they are not enough and if I want to lengthen the show I will need a lot more. I have some ideas on how to do this, so I will spend a lot of time on that.

One thing that came out a lot in the feedback was that the audience want a bit more. Some people wanted to know exactly who the waiting man was, how long he’d been there and what it is that he’s waiting for. I can understand this, although I do not want to answer those questions. I really like the anonymous man waiting for an unknown thing. That said, what I feel I need to do is give a few more hints, just a bit more to the audience to keep them interested, and guessing what is happening. Of course to do that I need to have more of an idea myself as to who this man is and what he could be waiting for.

As a quick side note, I have a massive urge to put a Shyamalan style twist into it. The main reason being this bit of feedback I received…

“… take this idea and your considerable charisma and give this mother f**ker a twist.”

I’m not sure if it was the swearing or the wonderful compliment about my charisma, but I really liked this feedback form and I want to follow the advice given.

SO! What next for the Waiting Man? Well I’m going to have to take a bit of a break from him because I’m in Exeter next week with Imitating the Dog, then I’m carrying on with rehearsals for Uncanny Corner with Paper People and after that show is performed Paper People will begin reworking Here We Remain for ‘Poolside Emergency on April 13th.

After all that I’m going to start re-writing and adding to the script. Im going to be getting help from my fellow Paper People as well as Leo Burtin (the mind behind LEAP) as well as any of my other theatre inclined friends. I’m also toying with the idea of getting my good friend Tom Kirk to help out and joing in with making some simple animations for the show. This needs a bit of considering because it’s been pointed out to me that at present the show is very simple to tour, but if I throw in some animations and a back projection screen, it suddenly becomes a lot trickier for an emerging solo artist. Finally, I’m considering making the show a Paper People project. The advantage of doing that would be an outside eye and direction so that the piece can be fully explored and the rhythm really played with. It’d still be my script but it would benefit from more input.

So that’s my plan, after April I’m going to get back on it, with help and with the insights of a Newcastle audience.