Sam Freeman

Storytelling | Theatre | Arts Marketing

An Edinburgh Hour…

5lettersLast week I got a bad review. A very bad review.

I know what you’re thinking, “I bet it wasn’t that bad“, “i bet you startled them with you linguistic ability, surprised them with wit and poignancy“, maybe, just maybe you’re thinking, “I bet he’s being modest and at worst it is a mixed review“. But no, you’d be wrong it was a terrible review.

It was for the touring show I wrote, and despite 5 reviews that raved about the show (and 1 mixed review) it was the 1 terrible review that I decided to focus on, for an entire weekend.

It was a strange mix of emotions i experienced at first – anger, hate, disgust, more anger, a desire for revenge. I researched the reviewer, found out about him, read his other reviews, followed him on twitter, desperate to find some flaws to destroy him and his idiotic views.

The problem is that I found myself not minding him the more I read. His other reviews were well written and I agreed largely with them, his twitter told of his displeasure of having to write a negative review (he didn’t enjoy writing it) but how he felt it was his duty to be honest and give a true opinion rather than sugar coat it. It was strange but after a mere 19 hours I started to feel okay about it.

He didn’t connect with the show emotionally like the other reviewers, and he found the writing particularly poor – but that was his opinion. Some of his points I actually agreed with. Don’t get me wrong I think his view was in the vast minority – we’ve had people crying at the end of the show as its effected them – but his view was still valid. You can’t accept the positive reviews and ignore the negative – you have to listen and ignore them all equally. Alan Ayckbourn wrote that you very rarely get what you deserve – people are either too nice or too nasty. I think maybe it’s impossible to give an exact review of a show – it’s just an opinion – those 7 reviews represent 7 out of 280 people – 2.5% of the crowd – who knows who is right with that sort of statistical analysis.

Anyway. I had this review and I felt awful, couldn’t write all weekend (or do anything, I was being a dick.) but I started to get an idea for a show – about me being taken down a notch in life. I’ve done 26 stand up gigs now and I enjoy it but the travelling and lifestyle I’m not sure about – I’m also not sure I accept the convention of building up 5min, 10min, 20min, open, middle, headline, Edinburgh show. I think it’s great for developing skills, but it really depends on what kind of show you want to do. I don’t want to do an out and out comedy show, I’d like to write a poignant one-man show, with projection that’s sweet and witty and maybe not even funny.

So I started writing – or recording – I find it easier recording my ideas and then looking back on them to see what they’re like. The general idea is that it’ll be me talking about having received 5 letters over the course of a week, 5 letters that make me reevaluate how I think about myself and which inspire me to make a change, a big change.

Here’s the first bit I recorded, it’s very rough and ready and largely improvised from notes – there would be projection (to help my memory and the structure), possibly some graphs (aka Dave Gorman – but not used at a measure of quest success), probably some deconstruction of what’s happening, maybe some read bits, a bit where people might cry and ending with a song…

Ambitious? Yes. Foolhardy? Yes. Completely unprepared for this? Yes.

Please let me know what you think? If enough people watch and enjoy this I’ll record the next five mins and keep putting them up in installments!

Night X



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