Saturday, August 02, 2003

The Fringe Is Now Open

Damn, what a long day. It began much too early, shortly after midnight, with Zelda waking up, and thinking it was playtime. I spent an hour or so walking her up and down Denny's long, hardwood hallways, or pushing her around the apartment in the stroller.

So we slept in a little, had muffins and the NY Times and tried to nap a little before Denny, Ncik and Toni went off to see our first show of the week, HELEN GURLEY BROWN'S SEX AND THE OFFICE, which they said they enjoyed all right. You will notice I was not with them, I had a full night and so spent the afternoon with Z., walking up and down Grand, getting smiles from everyone.

Nick has taught me to be a bold promoter - there was the crowd of "young people" standing in a circle, talking, outside the Grand Old Ice Cream Shop. I went up to one of them, the one who looked like the leader (becuase he looked like he was my age) to begin handing out postcards, and when he found what the show was about, he told me about a professor at St. Thomas up the street who has written a book about his experiences when he and his wife lost a child through stillbirth. I have tried to contact this man already.

Opening Night
Our house was very, very small. It was a difficult show for me - I have never performed it without at least a few audience members who know who I am. No one laughed much, The tiny house contributed to this, I am sure, but I just couldn't tell if it was flying.

Afterwards I just sat in the dressing room a few minutes, trying to pull it together. I mean, tonight's show was one of the hardest things I have ever done, ever. Ron, the lighting guy for Red Eye (wait, isn't that the name of that new make-over show on Bravo?) came in and told me how great the show was - he'd only seen fragments during the cue-to-cue. He said I was really "articulate" which made me laugh because that was my biggest problem tonight, articulation, but that's not what he meant. I told him how I felt about the audience not laughing ever and he said, "Oh, that's just a Minnesota thing, you don't laugh at someone else's problems" and that just cracked me up, he totally brought me out of my funk.

And most of the audience, a small crowd, was waiting for me outside when I emerged. They were all very taken by the show. It felt great. We will spread the word about Calvin and this show, a person at a time. And more ...

Industrials
Nick, Denny and I then went to see one of the most-hyped shows in the Fringe. INDUSTRIALS are the scripts from five personal health/propaganda films from the 50s, perfomed by actors. It was oversold, they couldn't fit enough extra chairs in the space. And it was quite funny. And yet, I kep thinking it would be funnier to watch the original movies, which is usually the case when some theater company chooses to reenact something from film or tee vee on-stage. That's just my opinion. But parts of it were very, very funny, and I can see why it is going to be a big hit.

Nick and I ripped out of there when it was over and handed postcards to everyone in this sold-out crowd. People really dig the cards.

Voice-In-Head
Then up the street to perform in VOICE-IN-HEAD, which was WAY better than I thought it was going to be! First off, it wasn't just me, some others who were signed up dropped out, and so not only did they enlist Nick, but Denny, to perform. We all put on silly costumes, and our headsets. I was crowned with a hat made of dangerously arranged drinking straws - and I got a malicious hand-puppet, which freaking rocked.

The fifteen performers did what ever was told of us on our headsets - and we were each given 90 seconds to plug our shows. I did one of the phone bits, and some "crappy Shakespeare." And Nick gave some sincere speech about me, who I am, what my show is, and why you should come -or at least I think that was what he was doing, I was getting detailed instructions on the next act (a witchhunt) and so missed the entire thing. Denny surprised me no-end by doing a very funny monologue about the differences between Minnesotans and people from Ohio.

And we handed out more cards. Tomorrow's show is at 8 PM, on a Saturday. It goes without saying I hope the word is spreading .. and of course, I am praying against hope for a critic. This show is good, it's very good, and I know that better than I know most things. Some attention in the press would be a real coup.

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