I was pleased to be doing something different, which is why I asked to be allowed to leave work earlier than I would normally be able to.
When I got to the venue I did my usual soundcheck. Knowing the venue as well as I now do, it was fairly straightforward to get things working - in fact, I'd brought the special bits I needed with me. The Etcetera Theatre is rapidly becoming one of my most regular haunts and I like it there. It's always nice to plug a guitar into your favourite venue's PA system.
Once guitar checked, I sang a straight song I rarely sing. Purely in the name of warming up. Then, my embarrassment at my poorly written lyrics subsiding (the song was written in 2003 and I'm not incredibly proud of all of the lines - though I like some) it was time to learn the dance. When I first saw the routine I laughed at how complicated it looked. However, after a slow tuition, I think I picked it up reasonably well. By the time we did it on stage, I pretty much knew what I was meant to be doing. Some of it I even did.
There were problems however. One was sweat after going through the routine so many times. However, the other problem was that an act dropped out. This act was meant to be the magician of the night. It turned out that he was neither coming, nor was he ever a magician in the first place. Oh dear. Then, as the show was due to start, it turned out that audience numbers were the lowest they had ever been for the show. About a dozen. In a theatre that seats 42, a dozen is still over 25% capacity, but it still put a damper on proceedings a bit. The problem with 12 people in a room like that is that they can't actually laugh that hard all the time and so a performer feels like his/her act isn't working. Then, if they show doubt, the audience can stop finding them funny, even if they did.
I was closing the first half of the show. The acts before me had varying degrees of success, so I steeled myself for a tricky time on stage. I actually enjoyed myself greatly and did some material I rarely ever do (either because I've retired it, or it's rarely appropriate to do it). It was fun.
The show went well once it got going, and I truly enjoyed the second section, during which I was in the theatre, rather than waiting outside, where I got to see three splendid acts - two stand-up and one sketch. I laughed like a drain. I often do.
Hopefully the next shows will go back to sell-out-crowds and I'll be allowed to come back. I think I know the dance now.