an experience

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an experience

Postby CvdC » 09 Mar 2008, 23:14

Well lads I have returned unscathed from Cooma. They do things differently up there in the southern highlands of NSW, or so it seems to this laté sipping inner city arty-farty type.

It was a long drive and I hope that I was able to do it without being fined for speeding as seems to happen more often these days despite my best efforts to slow down.

When I got there I had time to go to the show grounds and connect with the organisers. This proved to be a good idea because they hadn't put on any power to use. So I was able to borrow a lead and find a nearby powerpoint, which happened to be up on the roof of the goat pen. So I had a chance to prove I was still agile enough to climb up the framing to access the plug. The circus life beckons.

The next day I met up with the magician I shared the pitch with. We soon organised a cooperative approach. Basically this meant I started the ball rolling, did a show and then sent the audience over to him. Somehow, as it truned out, I think this worked out better for him.

The audiences were very quiet and a lot of my show was spent getting the audience to respond and shout out. I did notice however this was not such a problem in the afternoon, which I think may have been due to an excess of sugar laden treats generally pumped into the kids at this sort of event.

I had a problem with noise spill. Directly opposite was a speaker system, pointing across to my show, that pumped out announcements and advertisements from their sponsers. So I turned up my PA. Then I got a complaint from across the way that I was making too much noise. So I then went and turned off the speaker. But then one of the many show secretaries came and told me off. Well it was more of a threat really. She said if I turned it off again she would send someone bigger around. Although this was said with a smile I thought it was certainly not an example of good old Australian country charm. More like thinly disguised bullying. "I didn't think it mattered so much." Was all I could say.

There was a lot of this officiousness about. One disaster I had was my Punch head came off in the first show. I was using my new puppets for the first time and the inevitable happened.(And I thought I had found a good way to attach a puppet head.) So during a break I walked into the town to buy some cable ties to fix it. On my way back I walked in through the Out gate. Now there were two blokes guarding this gate. When confronted I tried to explain in a friendly way I was there as a performer but they told me to use the other gate nevertheless. So I had to walk 10 feet over to the other gate and explain the same thing to the three guards there. Who reluctantly let me through.

I had to compare this approach to that at Woodford Folk festival. I gather country shows attract these conservative control freaks. Yet the organisation is much better at Woodford and done more pleasantly. There is a lesson there.

In fact I think the organisers of Woodford should go down and take over this and every other agricultural show in every country town. The combination of the two cultures would make for a more satisfying event.

I didn't think my shows were good. I just couldn't motivate the audience. I tried very hard. I did more warm up out front than I normally would. I had Judy and Joey working overtime trying to build up the response.

It may have helped if I was more articulate with the swazzle. I am going to get lessons when I go to the UK again this May. My theory is that I speak through it too loudly which raises its pitch too high. I am just not used to using a microphone. But I will not consider going back to not using a swazzle.

Normally I can do a show without seeing the audience but because I couldn't hear anything I had to use the peep hole in front to see if people were actually still there and smiling. But as I said things improved throughout the day.

Much to my shock when I was leaving I had lots of children coming up to me saying how much they enjoyed the show, parents too. So go figure.
Maybe I am my own worst critic. I am convinced that between an audience that will like anything because they know little better and your own warped notion of yourself you do need an objective appraisal of your show.

Between shows the magician sold cheap magic tricks. Which seemed like a nice little earner.

It has been my experience that I am always true from my point of view, and am often wrong from the point of view of my honest critics. I know that we are both right from our respective points of view. - Gandhi (Having a bob each way.)
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