Gig 64: Spotlight @ The Storey, Lancaster – 15th June 2012
June 17, 2012 5 Comments
Friday night saw me make my third appearance at Spotlight; a live-writing venue in Lancaster dedicated to bringing new and different writing, performers, readers and musicians to the stage. (I took that description from Spotlight’s web-site, as I wasn’t sure how to describe it). I first heard about the night via Penella Mellor (winner of this month’s Magical Animals – Gig 62) back in October. She just happened to mention it in passing and I jumped on it – desperate for any sort of gig – and e-mailed the organisers. I was duly booked in for an open spot in November (Gig 20).
It seemed like a bit of a long drive for a 5-minute spot at a gig which I didn’t really know anything about, but I was excited to try my hand at a spoken-word night other than Magical Animals. And I was able to recycle some material I’d tried at M.A. (plus some new stuff), which, you know, was a bonus. At that stage, I didn’t even know for sure whether I should count this type of night as an “official” gig - which, in hindsight, seems ridiculous – but I had fun performing, and it went well. It went well enough for me to be asked back as featured performer in an upcoming event.
My second appearance came in January (Gig 28). Having a 10-minutes for a non-stand up spot felt like a luxury. I decided to combine a few jokes, one of my “short plays” and then a bunch of different things taken from The World of Sherby57; stories, poems and “essays”. Again, performing in front of an audience whose primary goal wasn’t to laugh was very liberating, and, ironically, aided me in making them laugh. As I wrote at the time:
…it was probably the most confident and relaxed that I’ve been on stage. I know need to think of a way for me to translate this freedom onto my straight stand up sets, as I think it would really mark a big improvement in my performances.
Thankfully, I had done well enough to be asked back again. Which leads me to last night. I decided to stick to the same format as I had used in Gig 28, a kind of mix between stand up and reading out short bits of writing. I decided not to do any repeats from last time, but luckily I had enough stuff to choose from on TWoS57. As I was either a) doing stuff I was familiar with, or b) reading aloud, I didn’t do loads of prep. I did have a quick polish of the blog posts to make sure they flowed properly and to add an extra joke or two, and I also had a few run throughs of the bits I wouldn’t be reading. I was nice and relaxed at the venue and itching to get on stage. My set was:
“This really shifty bloke came up to me…” followed by joke book variant: “these are definitely jokes” – This was pretty much the same set-up as Gig 63, but limited to 5 jokes, and 2 of those were brand new.
Sideburns – A stupid cop story.
A re-write of the lyrics to Just a Little by Liberty X – Silly poem.
Cliff Richard and his mate – A new bit of stand up
Doug Up – A story
You don’t like… – Sort of a poem, but generally just daft.
I had another couple of bits that I had to drop due to the time.
Bertie’s Speech – Having performed “One Day in Liverpool” the last time I appeared here, I decided to go with another of Simeon Gold’s excellent plays.
In total I was on stage for 12-13 minutes and the time flew. As last time, I was really relaxed, which allowed me to access my “natural funny” (and daftness), which I think came through in the performance. I think this was due to more than just not feeling the pressure of a comedy audience, but had a lot to do with the type of material I was able to choose. An example of how this worked was during Doug Up. The start of the story got lots of laughs, and I was able to add to this through my reactions towards it. However, it was probably a little long and I felt it (and the audience) tailing off a bit as it progressed. I instinctively started to act bored with the story, making a big deal about skimming through the ending, which won the audience back around. The whole performance felt very clearly like the path I should be following.
In my write up of Gig 63, I mentioned once again my need to re-write my “Personal Bit”. I wonder if part of the problem is that as a chunk of material, despite having bits I like, it just isn’t a natural fit for me (although, part of me thinks that I should keep it in for that very reason). It’s certainly is something to think about when I get around to the re-write.
The main question is how (and if) I can make this slight change in direction work in front of a less forgiving audience (i.e. one that’s demanding lots of gags). I guess the only way to answer that is to try it, work on it and then try it again.