It’s press night tonight, and a full house. I’m feeling weightless and rested after a day off. I’m sending minimum one email every day to industry people based in the North. Today I invited the casting director of Emmerdale! Can’t do any harm and it’s exactly the sort of thing I haven’t done for years. Most of these emails will get lost in the bundle of “make me famous” types, but one email might convert to a meeting, to employment, to delights. Tomorrow I’ll write to The Crucible – (the main theatre in Sheffield). Probably for them it’s more likely they’ll cast in London. Still, you have to put energy out into the world or it doesn’t come back to you and I’m not fucking around anymore. And it’s “press night”. So here goes.
So. I have no idea what the South Yorkshire Knitting Times made of our show. Or the Sheffield Rocking Horse Post.
The press are a pernicious lot with theatre. The night we did tonight was called “press night”, and the show we did was a lovely show where lots of people got free food and booze. The hope is that those people will go on to write pleasant things and consequently fill the house with humans. We still get paid regardless. Their bullshit affects whether or not we get to come back next yeat.
It’s an annoying dynamic, seeking validation when you already know the show works – and in this instance it just … does.
Why have a night where we blow smoke up people’s arses in the hope they will reciprocate? Nothing. They haven’t sold it enough. That’s the issue. I lose nothing but fun if you don’t show up as audience. I want fun to be a thing . A reviewer tonight told Scrooge that Christmas was about “getting shitfaced.” I fed that back to the crowd, as is my job, and noticed one of the other potential nightmare reviewers flinching. I think it was the head of Sheffield Hedgehog Carer’s Newscast. I’ll doubtless find out tomorrow. I’ll never work with hedgehogs again.
I really wanted to make it Christmassy for the audience, but it was hard to keep positive when you’re with an audience who all self-identify as reviewers. Everyone was skipping over the surface. Connection was very hard.
I love writing, and I love theatre. I’m extremely good at both disciplines, in an uncomplicated fashion. Jack and I smashed it tonight. But I honestly don’t think I’ve ever played a more artificial audience. Tonight is the first night I have EVER witnessed Marley’s first “Merry Christmas” being met with absolute silence. (He very quickly changed that of course and got them all involved.)
I honestly hope that the good people of Sheffield Flatulence Monthly enjoyed our show. It’s a lovely way to spend an evening. You get a show and a meal, and the price point is literally half of what the same show was in London. There’s no way in hell it would still exist, bearing in mind the logistical nightmares, if it was anything other than an important and delightful show.
I have a few political names on the vast debt board. Everyone wanted a piece of them. It’s important to be able to bring in politics, but we had Rees Mogg, Bojo the Clown and Nigel Garage in one night. I didn’t want to get political on press night so I just dissociated them into vague versions of themselves. I was trying to keep it clear of rant despite an extremely political list. Then the third pick was Nigel Garage. I probably should’ve asked for a fourth, because it was literally just a conspiracy of writers seeing how I’d cope. But I smelt copout so he became an unfortunate orphan boy, instead of a dark divisional fringe politician. I told a story and tried to make him a goodie with an unfortunate name, and then I got them all to encourage me to free him. I am curious to know where writey people went headwise in their subjective attempts to rationalise their experience. I strongly suspect that they all had a corking time, but we do have to deal with the Sheffield Small Glass Object Appreciation Newsletter. Whatever they thought is largely irrelevant anyway from my perspective, as I know for certain after half a decade that the press release won’t have my name on it. I just wish I had enough profile that could sell tickets for my own past…