I got back to my digs feeling a little despondent today, to find a lovely message sent to me via the blog, which was perfectly timed, coming at the end of a long day.
It was really nice of them to take the trouble to seek out a way to contact me to tell me they enjoyed it. One of the hardest parts of doing the Fringe alone is remaining positive and energised in the face of such a relentless workload, when the only encouragement you get is from those closest to you (who ironically are geographically far away for the month) and from the audience in the room during the gig itself - and if the houses are occasionally on the small side, those audiences can often be intimidated into silence.
Today’s show was a case in point in that there weren’t many in, but I could at least tell they were enjoying it; two women in particular in fact, who were giggling all the way through, albeit quietly, due to the size of the audience. While I was pleased it went well, the business side of my brain can’t help but be discouraged if I'm often playing to small crowds, or if I’m not getting many press in.
Having said that, it only takes a short walk around Edinburgh to be reminded of just how many shows are in town this month, and how you’re in fact lucky to get an audience at all. This afternoon I received exactly that reminder, when I ventured to the Assembly Rooms on the Mound for the first time (despite this being my fifth Fringe in some form of other) to see my friend Chris in the excellently-pitched new musical, 'Atlantic: A Scottish Story'. Just a quick scan of the venue itinerary above the Box Office window was illustrative of how much competition there is, and how easy it is to be literally lost in the crowd.
Although I enjoyed Chris’ show, my mood dropped a little on the way home, mainly through tiredness, so discovering the reply to yesterday’s blog was a helpful boost that was genuinely appreciated. In truth, I’ve enjoyed the run so far, despite a few challenges, and feel happier about performing alone. I’ve enjoyed doing this year’s show far more than the last one, mainly by not getting too deep or serious about it; I’ve kept my approach light and been more mindful about it (which I know is a bit of a buzzword, but there’s a lot to be said for applying the technique). Despite this, it’s still often felt like a mountain to climb, but as long as I have the odd bit of encouragement like this, the uphill trajectory will level out a bit.