Friday, 25 August 2017

Stay Now...Stay Now...


Today’s show was a nice one with a friendly audience, which was just what the doctor ordered at this late stage in the game, although a guy walked out a few minutes in, and while the motive for his exit could be for a whole host of reasons, I find it a strange thing to do when the venue is small enough for everyone in the room to be aware of it.

Thankfully, this has only happened to me one other time this year (and the circumstances ended up being a gift) and it’s something that tends to occur more often when you’re performing on the Free Fringe, when the lack of a financial transaction often goes hand in hand with less commitment, but I still think it’s a faux pas. The first thing to enter everyone’s head - be they the performer or the audience - is that the person isn’t enjoying it, and if it isn’t addressed by the act on stage (providing it’s not a play of course) it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth and is disruptive for everyone.

I’ve never walked out of a show in my life; least of all on the Fringe, when most shows only last an hour anyway, so you won’t be trapped for long. The only time I can envisage leaving was if I found the show deeply offensive, and even then, it would have to be truly reprehensible for me to get to my feet. There’s an unwritten etiquette to theatre that dictates you don’t pull focus as, however briefly you do it, it makes that moment all about you, and that isn’t good cricket; it’s not television and you’re not watching at home alone, so do the decent thing and sit it out.

The worst instance that comes to mind was a recent Mostly Comedy, when a party of four people sat on the far side of the room took a dislike to the comic on stage and decided to not only walk out, but to make a big scene by hurling abuse at the act in the midst of his performance. It didn’t matter to them that everyone else was enjoying it, nor did they care that their words would have a negative impact on someone in the middle of their set; most shockingly of all, they couldn’t grasp that they were the ones in the wrong as the act was doing exactly what he's known for; as far as they were concerned, they were the most important people in the room. It was testament to the comic in question that not only did he take it gracefully, he still killed them with kindness and did his best to reel them in.

From now on, I’m not taking any chances and will only perform in hermetically-sealed rooms.

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