Sam Freeman

Storytelling | Theatre | Arts Marketing

Tour Blog – Part 4 (York)

Audience: 38

Technical: Again really good – Nathan was brilliant – it’s a very simple show and we simplified it even more for the lighting so that we’d have less of a rig and focus to do. The show can now be ready, from scratch in around an hour now. All the team at York were brilliant it must be said – warm, funny and really supportive.

Marketing: Great I think – obviously I lived and worked there which makes things easier, but York were really great in making sure stuff went out etc…

Pre-Show: Did a proper warm up but I suspect too early, I did the warm-up then was sat around for around 45 mins which I guess means I should have done another warm up. I hate the pre-show bit, it’s awful, I suspect because I feel I must be around from 3pm obsessing about stuff.

The Show: This was the hardest show I’ve done so far to be honest. I think two things got in my head quite badly and threw me a bit – firstly someone reviewing (I’ve low expectations as it wasn’t my best show by a long, long way), which made my chest go a bit tight – when I saw them my head went to a review I got in 2012 where I got assassinated (in fairness they had some very good points in retrospect). I could feel it during the preamble, usually I’m really fluid and I stumbled over it a bit. Funnily enough I did one line about Kit Kats – looked over to seem them writing and then started imagining what the note would be, then blanked on the next bit. Then the disaster moment – pressed a cue too early – I operate all the sound cues – the show’s unfunded (well technically, at the moment, with the next month and a half of ticket sales as they are, I’m funding it) so no touring tech. I had an itchy trigger foot and a cue blurted out. Sorted it in the least efficient way possible but I lost my flow and felt like a massive failure of a dickhead, so every time I sat down was giving myself mini-pep talks. Also I stumbled on a few words – you’ve got to be so razor sharp in focus – any distraction… I guess until something goes wrong you don’t know the best way to handle it.

Post Show: Get out was easy (thank you Nathan and York). I’ll be honest, I was a bit upset that I’d fucked it half way through (and also that I’d been not at 100%), so drove home the three hours chuntering at myself about being crap. Also forgot to hand my YTR lanyard in.

Rating Out Of 10: 5 (for my performance relative to the other shows so far)

Nice Feedback:
“Just wanted to say last night was great. I was one of those 48% at the start, although I was also hoping for some nudity!”

Final Thought: I’ve talked about the dark cycle of negativity that I get when doing this, so thought I’d elaborate a bit more. I was furious about the errors I made last night, for me, it ruined it, and I had a dark drive home getting more and more worked up. However. I have no objectivity. I know when I did stand up I’d absolutely focus on the negative and ignore anything else that went right. Nathan the technician last night made a very astute observation – he asked in all the performances so far how many times had I pressed the cues right? So far I’ve done the show 10 times (3 x Theatr Clwyd, 1 x Harrogate, 1 x Halifax, 1 x Liverpool, 4 x filmed but no audience because of Covid recordings in Jan 2021), each show I have in the region of 120 cues that I need to hit and land on accurately, so, for all 10 I’ve done 1,200 cues correctly and 1 wrong. That’s a 99.999% success rate. Or a 0.001% failure rate. I feel a bit better today and less annoyed. Hopefully people enjoyed it, or at the very least, didn’t feel like I wasted their time. I guess, ultimately, what I thought of is it less important than what the audience though.

I’m also finding touring tough. I think it’s the combo of doing it alone, long drives in your own company and also it not really selling in some places – I suspect it’s the marketing that’s the toughest bit for me mentally – doing lots of stuff to try and get audiences in, but it not really working, so finding yourself feeling like you’ve let the venue down a bit.

I’ve started writing a new show, well technically two, and this is informing them both with a couple of notes:
#1 – it needs to be less than an hour and #2 – it needs to be less precise cue based, and #3 I’d like to have more freedom when performing – the current show has to be so exact with no shortcuts or ad-libs, and I think that’s the stuff I love doing a bit more. I think also if I do it anywhere it’ll be a free show or pay-what-you-want – it feels more comfortable for me I think.