Today, I arrived at the Royal Mile, which is the main drag (essentially "Broadway," during the Fringe, for those USA-ers and NY-ers and probably people from all over the world). During the Fringe Festival, there are Verizon-sponsored small stages that people and production companies are given slots to. This allows the performers to draw crowds to their shows, essentially a teaser to the performance, by performing in front of passing audiences -- everyone hoping to draw a crowd.
I am helping out with American Gun Show, Chris Harcum's solo comedy about gun control and gun issues in the U.S. While we spent some time together at the Gryphon Venue Launch Party, all I knew for today was that I was going to meet them at the "Upper Stage," right across from the Fringe Central Box Office, and I would be at least helping flyer for the show while Chris performed for the 2:40 - 3:10 performance slot.
Now, some things to mention:
1: You can't use amplification of any kind while on stage!
2: It is LOUD.
The idea of performing on the stages are very daunting because most shows aren't built for crowd-drawing performances. Even comedians struggle with the fact that unless they are yelling they can barely be heard.
Chris, Aimee, the director, and Heather, the stage manager, met me and Katelin, the other assistant for American Gun Show. I was given a large, red styrofoam cowboy hat. I was also given a stack of flyers, which I passed out till it became our time to go up on stage.
Once it was our time slot, Chris began by starting with some trivia, which drew some older audience but also had some technical difficulties.
Activity #2 was to have Katelin and I "quick draw" and die publicly on stage - I liked the idea of having to act publicly. I died a tragic death after being "shot" by Katelin, and then by Chris. After dying in Chris' arms -- which I'm sure made for a good photo -- we had drawn a better crowd, and the stage manager, Heather, and director, Aimee, were passing out flyers below us.
I also offered to take pictures in the large styrofoam red cowboy hat, and several people took photos of me, while one woman came up with her daughter to take a picture in the red hat.
Overall, performing up there --- even when it isn't "my" show I'm performing --- was much more intimidating than I'd expected, even if I consider myself a performer. We learned a lot from the experience, and I'm excited to go up there again and try new things.