When we first decided 100% to return to Oz, I was absolutely determined not to waste away our last couple of months in Canada by spending the whole time dreaming about our future life back home. I have this horrible tendency to do that, meaning that I often find myself detached from all the awesomeness that’s right in front of me in the moment.
On the plus side, I’m happy to report that I’ve pretty much achieved that. I’ve stayed focused on all the good stuff here in our final laps of Canadian life and have indeed, enjoyed it hugely. On the minus side, I’ve been SO focused on Canucky stuff that I have a feeling now that when we get back to Australia I’m going to be in a massive state of shock: what do we do now?
Anyhoo, life in the past few weeks in a nutty nutshell:
– we polished off the roadtrip with a camping experience with our good friends Dave & Junko.
– upon debriefing, we have concluded that we tried to do WAY too much in too little time on this trip. Something to bear in mind for future travelling expedtitions for sure.
– then jumped madly into the final preparations for my first ever Fringe Festival show…
After Tim and the kids got evicted from their usual hang-out space behind the Moose due to a crew filming a project, they launched themselves upon the theatre itself. Meaning that my tech run involved two children chasing each other screaming around the aisles, tearing through my collection of balloon props while my baby slept on the couch, my main set piece. In other words, my nerves were rather shot by the experience. Very poetic, given the subject matter of the show.
It was with eight minutes before call time though, that I seriously freaked out. The fringe being the fringe, is absolutely adamant that each show start ON TIME. No exceptions. No latecomers. Including the performers. So I’m there backstage, feeding Littlest Boob, my hair unbrushed and have apparently lost my makeup bag – it was with four minutes to go that I officially thought “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!?!?!?!?!”
Thankfully I had amazing hubby and incredible Loose Moose posse to help me out, loan me whatever makeup could be smattered together (thank you Kat!) and take over child-sitting duties (thanks Mel!) so that hubbster could even watch the first show.
I was so so nervous, this being the first fringe show naturally, but also with 95% new material, I had absolutely no idea how it would go and also whether we would even have an audience. But both turned out better than expected. I did, however, make the mistake of reading a review from that first night, something I swore I wasn’t going to do until the festival itself was over. And then I kicked myself. I should qualify this by saying that it was mostly positive. But then it did point out the weak points of the show too. The thing is, the review – in my opinion – was completely bang on. I couldn’t agree more with what the reviewer thought was wrong. I just wish I’d waited til after the festival to read them. Anyhoo, Dennis Cahill (who has been SO amazing with guiding me in this show) had exactly the same notes following the show, so these aspects have – touch wood – changed quite markedly since that first run.
Bolstered by the fact that I knew now I could do it, and that we were getting a satisfactory sized (and NICE!) crowd, I definitely felt more confident going into this one. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but the improv segments went better than the night before, which were the mainly problematic areas. Shawn Kinley gave me some wicked feedback at the end too, which I’ve since incorporated – and continue to incorporate – into the run.
I rocked up early and got dressed first thing this night, meaning for the first time on this show, I’ve had a good twenty-five minutes pre-show just to relax, stretch and focus, rather than the typical “oh my goodness, is everything in place? Is everybody okay? Oh what, we’re ready to go? AGH!” madness that’s preceded!
I felt so much more connected and on track – Shawn’s tips were so helpful, especially in the improvised segments, plus my fabulous tech team of Lee and Sam have done such an awesome job of nailing it. I feel like we really gel together so well now, like in the performance art piece, they came in and out with sound and lighting EXACTLY where I’d hoped they’d be. Then right at the end of the show, as we were doing curtain call, I saw a few audience members stand in silhouette. The final number is spot-lit, and it’s up so bright that I honestly can hardly see anything in the crowd at all. So at first I’m all “Oh boy, they’re leaving already, wait, wait, the final gag is just coming up!” and then I see more heads rising, more heads rising and it clicks and I suddenly feel really overwhelmed with what it turns out, is not a mass exodus after all but my first proper standing ovation. I can’t wait to get home and tell hubby. It is, after all – as anybody who’s seen it will know – as much his show as it is mine.
Completely buzzing, I return home to find all three children screaming.
So I had a night off last night, it was a great relief actually, just to have some downtime with the fam, to relax and regroup and then once we’d gotten them to bed the hubbster and I ran a few rewrites of the problematic parts of the show through. It’s still not perfect by any means, but I’m so happy with this week – we’ve had more people come than I ever expected, it’s had some great reactions and I’m just so pleased with how it’s evolved and changed so much even over the past few days. That’s exactly what I’d hoped for.
So tonight is closing night – my last performance at Loose Moose for who knows how long. I’m so excited. Nervous? A little. Of course. But mainly just so stoked and pumped to give it everything I’ve got – this time performing with the Moose has been an absolute undeniable highlight of my life. And I can’t believe I have the privilege of treading the boards there for my final show.
What an honour.