18 May 2015

My Brighton Fringe Diary #23 The second show – can it be as good as the first show? #MyBrightonFringe2015 #MadeinCumbriashow #spiritjunkie

My first Brighton fringe show, which was my first ever solo show, took place on Monday 4 May. I was lucky enough to do a dress rehearsal in the space in the morning and then perform in the evening. I had a couple of friends and my tech with me for support. Up until that point I had been practising in my living room! 

On that first show day, my adrenaline was high and I felt able to take that leap into my performance.  I had got to the stage where I had spent so much time writing it and I needed to get it in front of an audience. There were still nerves and I realised I afterwards what I needed to work on. It was a good start. 

After my first show, I then had approximately a week and a half until my second show. My second show was on Saturday 16 May. In the time between shows I have been feeling very relaxed and enjoying seeing lots of fun things in the Brighton Fringe and hanging out with friends. I was slightly worried that my level of adrenaline wouldn’t come back for my next show. What if the second show wasn’t as successful as the first one? 

My anxiety dreams, that come a couple of nights before the performance, consist of worrying about costume change and that I only have 4 people in the audience.  I no longer worry about getting in front of people. I now worry about the other bits like costume, props, running over the time limit and people having a good time. 

On Saturday, we had a gorgeous hot sunny day in Brighton and this fuelled my fear that no one would turn up to my show as they could be on the beach sunning themselves. I went down to New Road to Fringe City and flyered for an hour. I wanted the room to be packed again for my show. 

In all the meditations around my show I have pictured the room at The Quadrant venue full of people. I imagined myself doing my show in front of a packed room. It has helped me feeling overwhelmed and let me explore how that would feel to stand up there with everyone in front of me. 

My first ever show was full and we had to turn people away. Again, I was worried that the second show wouldn’t live up to that first audience. To my surprise, we did fill the room. We filled it even more than before as I found extra stools and once again we had to turn people away. There was nothing more thrilling than filling that room. We were packed to the seams! 

My show was in The Argus on Friday so I wonder if that helped at all. 

I wanted to blog about all the feelings in the run up to the second show. I wanted this Brighton Fringe diary to be as honest as possible and show the reality of putting together a fringe show. 

As I mentioned, I have been pretty relaxed day to day. I started to feel uneasy about feeling so calm. I talked to another comedian and they said it’s good to be relaxed between shows. I felt less guilty. I used to associate stress/anxiety with working hard. Now through meditating and taking better care of myself I get more done in a relaxed/calm state. It creates more space in my head and a sense of calm/control. Meditation has helped with his. My Spirit Junkie work has really paid off. (By the way I got a new Spirit Junkie hoodie – here’s a pic!)

So what went through my head in the run up to my second show? 

I found once again I was very vulnerable and sensitive. I had a couple of things that knocked me and made me feel upset over the week before the show. To get through these things I kept problem solving, challenging my thoughts, I was kind to myself and told myself not to be a victim. I have suffered with unwanted thought symdrome or intrusive thoughts in the past which I now have under control, but they can come back if I feel stressed or anxious. 

If I get overtired or start feeling anxious I also start to be critical of my body. I have put on weight since Christmas, but back then I was very under weight due to stress. I am a lot happier now and have to accept I have put on a stone. It has gone on my bum and hips. A few months ago I had a week of feeling terrible about myself and then thought, 'fuck it' I am actually happy. I also have an extremely sensitive tummy so I am often bloated! Um. Nice. 

To challenge these body criticisms I chose show costumes for my show that I can't hide behind. I wear tight leggings and a vest. I also try do some physical comedy to be brave and take up the space. Yes, some of the photos I have seen do make my tummy/hips look big to me. However, the world didn't end when I went on stage in front of 60-80 odd people wearing tight leggings, sports bra and a vest! I am not doing much exercise at the moment so when I do I will no doubt tone up. It's just I am a bit wobbley at present! I can fix it if I want to.

I started to get nervous and excited about my show on Friday. Little thoughts crept into my head. These are common reoccurring thoughts that come before a performance. I have listed them below. Do you get these too?

  • I can’t do this
  • What if no one comes to the show?
  • What if no one thinks the show is funny?
  • Why am I doing this?
  • Am I fooling myself?
  • I’m not good enough.
  • What if I don’t have the energy?
  • What if people don’t like me? 
  • I want to run away and cry

I wondered if people in other professions get the same thoughts. I bet they do. The only way to deal with these thoughts is to challenge them or let them just pass through your mind. Plus, getting grounded and meditating really helps put things into perpective. 

I got nervous about the show on the Friday and them the nerves stepped up on Saturday a few hours before the show. I spend the first half of the day doing something ‘normal’ like walking along the seafront and going for some tea/cake. An important thing to do is to eat loads and keep energy up. I have regular snacks and meals. 

The second half of the day is spent being calm. To combat nerves I go through all my scripts, get all the costumes ready and check the props. I also make sure I have a lay down for about 30 mins to relax and be calm. I also visualise the show and how I want it to go. Then I make the journey to the venue. 

With the free fringe show you only get a window of 10-15 mins to get in to the room and set up your stuff. I have been lucky to have such a pro tech for the music who I can rely on 100% and I have close friends who help me get ready in the room. I have a list of costume changes behind the curtain and lay out my costumes in different areas of the two foot squared space behind the curtain. 

I think my nerves were also high due to the fact I had some close friends in the audience. I wanted to be extra good for them. I have talked about the show for many months and people are always supportive. I always want to do well and make people laugh,  plus make it a good time for everyone. I know my friends would support me if I didn’t do that great so it’s nice when they are honest and say they were worried I was going to be shit and they were pleased I wasn’t!! 

So, how did the second show go?

As I mentioned, we had a packed house and had to turn people away again. I did mess up a couple of punchlines and a couple of names. This was pointed out by a close friend afterwards. I was gutted I did this, but I am not going to be the victim, learn from it and try not to let that happen again. 

If you still haven’t seen my show and would like to you can see it, you still can on Thursday 28 May at 7pm and Sunday 31 May at 5.45pm at The Quadrant pub. 

Again, I would love to fill these shows up with a full house so pass on the details.

I would also still like a review. Fingers crossed there will be some reviewers in the next couple of shows. God knows that I have pestered them enough. 

Big thank you to everyone who has already seen my shows. I really appreciate you taking the time to come and see it.  Please spread the word if you enjoyed it. 

As promised, here's my interview I did for Juice FM Brighton Nights with Boogaloo Stu. 

1 comment:

  1. Glad the second show went well! :D

    Also you always look HOTT! So don't worry about that please!