I chatted with Nancy Lombardo about the show this morning on the radio. You can listen to it here … if you have 44 minutes to spare. XO
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to perform two semi-staged readings of the show in Buffalo in two different venues for two very different audiences. First for students (many from my simultaneous Writing for Actors workshops) at Buffalo State College and then at the hip Alt Theatre.
All I can say is, “Bring back the out-of-town-tryout!”
It was so exciting to give the show a whirl in front of an audience. You can rehearse all day long, but without an audience, you really have no idea if your show is working or not. In a solo show, the audience is the second character. What do they respond to? What do they like? What are they confused by? What do they want more (or less) of? These questions were all answered by very eager and supportive audiences.
What did I learn? Well, the show is funny. And that was a pretty important goal for me. So funny that holding for laughs probably adds about 2 minutes to the show. But the human aspect – the personal journey within the story also affected people very much. Awesome! But, this is where it gets tricky. The show needs to be 60-minutes in Edinburgh due to a tight schedule – not only for the venue, but for the audience who makes great efforts to see as many shows as they can. The show can be 65-minutes for the May run in NYC, but I need to cut about 10 full minutes of material. This is also called “murdering your babies.” Where is that merciless red pen?
Thanks to the feedback in Buffalo, I have a good idea of what to cut; but also, what to add or clarify. I learned that diction is vital. Water is a must. And the silences in the show are just as important as the rants. Also, throwing bags of British crisps at the audience creates a feeding frenzy that adds a whole minute to the running time. CUT!
In the next four weeks before opening, I’ll work with my director John Clancy on editing the show down and finding all the beats and moments. In addition to that, 500 postcards have been ordered, interviews with press are on the way, plans for my Rockethub crowd-funding campaign are moving forward and this writer has to put down the pen and become the performer.
If you are doing a new show, try the thing out. Small clubs, in front of a friend, anywhere you can before you open. Funny, this is exactly what we didn’t do with Desperately Seeking Susan. Next time, we must try out a new show in Buffalo! xo PMM