Sam Freeman

Storytelling | Theatre | Arts Marketing

Gig Report – Liverpool Lantern Theatre

So today was the big day, the first work-in-progress performance of the show I’ve been working on for the last 4 months at the lovely Lantern Theatre.

I was feeling pretty nervous about it in the preceding week.

  • Firstly the show was only really finished on Friday and I was aware that the ending and the second half were a little ropy.
  • Secondly there’s always that terrible moment where you think everything you’re doing is shit and a bit tedious, probably because i’ve been staring at parts of it for 4 months.
  • Finally there’s that element of realisation, that moment when I thought, “fuck, i’m doing a show that lasts 90 minutes”, which is a slight step up from my previous longest time on stage of 30 minutes and certainly the first time I’ve done 75 minutes of untested material.

The show started at 3pm, which, is definitely not prime-comedy-theatre time, but good to test material I think, after all if something works in a very warm room at 3pm to 13 people it’ll probably work on a larger scale too. I have to admit I was a little disappointed to only have 13 (wonderful) people there, that said, having spent a considerable amount of time trying put people off from coming both with timings and massive negative marketing i’ve only myself to blame. I guess I looked at the facebook event and was excited and it turned out to completely accurately represent how facebook events go (as in, everyone says they’ll go, but few do.)

So the show itself…

The opening pre-show device I thought worked okay, seemed to engage people when they entered, allowed me to compere the start of the show without actively compereing it. Retrospectively I should have done some in the interval as well to keep that continuity and to raise energy levels before the second half started.

The first half I knew would be stronger as it had the only bits I’d actually done before and I was a bit more confident with the material and message in the first half. There’s some definite cutting to do around any text that has to be read on stage and also about how to maintain interest with a rather relentless number of flyer moments. The ending to the first half was ropey as fuck and mostly improvised, needed clarity and it needed to build to a better conclusion.

Second half was, as suspected, suspect. There were strong bit, pretty much the set pieces (although let down a little by over writing) and a couple of moments where people were lost. I lacks a clear and concise direction and could be cut down considerably. There’s a question of the ending which I rather ballsed up and forgot about 4 minutes. It was strange talking to Tom Sullivan who’s been helping me with the show – the experience for him, having seen it many times before, was to count the bits i missed in the second half. Mostly jokes.

I think overall thought it was fine as a work-in-progress, I’m conscious that I rushed at points, stumbled over words regularly (said Elephant by mistake) and my diction was awful (drama school would be mad). I’m glad I didn’t charge for it or push to a bigger audience as it’s clearly not ready. I think I’ll leave it a couple of weeks and then come back to it and try and give it a big cut. I suspect than rather than 80 mins it could be 60-70min quite easily if I cut a strand or two and give it more focus. Equally it could remain at 80 with an interval with the second half reworked. I’m not sure yet.

The other thing I’m not sure about is whether to do it again. I feel like it’s a tick on the goal list. I don’t know, maybe I’ll feel a bit differently in a week or so. I finished and didn’t feel an overwhelming sense of triumph or achievement, instead just a sense of “must try harder”. It’s a problem I always tend to get, as soon as I’ve done something my enthusiasm about it’s relative quality drops – I suspect Gaffer going no further than Liverpool played a part in this – a burgeoning sense of opportunity missed. Hmmm not sure. There’s a broader question about stand up and what I want to do too but that’s probably for another blog post. I’m writing a play about politicians at the moment so might focus on that for a while.

All in all however, it was okay, wasn’t shit but wasn’t brilliant, has potential and we’ll see what happens in time.



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