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Tuesday, August 18

Day 3 or is it 4? or... Well, how should I know: I'm in Fringe Mode

Usually it takes until the middle of the Fringe, or at least one week in, before the fug of confusion and exhaustion sets in. Unfortunately, in my case, as I've been getting steadily unhealthier, I'm pretty much knackered and confused on a daily basis at the moment. There's a simple formula - my focus and sprightliness is inversely proportional to the distance I am from my next performance. In fact it may be an inverse-square relationship.

The reason: Doctor Theatre. This is not someone you invite over to help rebuild your ailing performance space. Doctor Theatre is more of a self-healing trick we humans have whenever we're called on to give a performance. The anticipation, the adrenaline and the general drive to do it all come together and you end up feeling falsely fine (all the f's) and able to just get on with it.

Don't worry. This is not some story of a man whose 35 year old frame is due to shatter under the exertions of another Fringe, or whose limbs are unable to carry the 20-odd stone that he finds himself carrying at the moment. It's more a reality check. I can, somehow, run around this city in a good mood, spinning round lampposts like I'm in a musical and bounding around with joy, because I love being here and doing the Fringe. On the flip side, sometimes there are these moments where it all blends into one and where my energy levels drop to "zombie" and I can only lumber around, kept going by nothing much more than momentum.

Perhaps I should eat more regularly. I'm eating quite healthily, which is definitely a start, but I've no time between starting the show-performing at 1.25 until ending them at 6 or later, to go for food... and then other stuff kicks in. So I get breakfast, then I get hungry. I'm hungry now just thinking about it.

Yesterdays shows were fun. I enjoyed myself. I have a joke about the Panama-escaping John Darwin, who faked his own death in a canoe incident, so it's good he's back in the news. I would have used him in the topical show we do, but unfortunately, that didn't happen. Here's a quick script of what happened when we went to do that show:


Sully: Ashley, you know the slot for your show is on the board as cancelled, and you know how there's a new show starting today in room 2, and you see all those pensioners who've suddenly gone to sit in your room, now the show before has finished.
Ashley: Yes?
Sully: Well, you might want to make sure they're not here for the other show. It seems a bit strange, under the circumstances.
Ashley: Ok - we'll make an announcment.

Cut to Ashley on stage doing the sound check in front of an auditorium that seats 100 with about 70 people sitting in it. Ian comes on the microphone.

Ian: Hi everyone. The next show in this room is The Great Big Comedy Picnic. It will start in about 10 minutes. If you're here for the Office Party show, then it's in room two.

Entire audience stands up to leave.

Ian: Ashley - now look what you made me do.
Ashley: They'd have found out eventually...


Quite funny actually. I have never been on stage when so many people have left so quickly and effectively.

We pulled that show, but I found myself with a show I didn't think I had, so it all works out somehow.

The Seven Deadly Jokes went pretty well. One facebook comment suggested that Hannah fluffed stuff, but I think we both did in equal measure, and I did sort of pick on the people in the middle of the room who were talking and generally looking bored, which was a no-no. We had some fun with the show overall, though, and I think, broadly speaking, it worked well and flew along. It's a bloody full hour, though, so we've room to make cuts if we need to. Maybe we will.

Other shows went well for me today too. I'm enjoying the Fringe immensely. It's so much more fun than work. That's not to say that I don't give care and attention to work. I had a 30 minute chat with my work people at the start of the morning to help hand-over some of the things which needed more explanation after the point when I left the office last Friday.

To be honest, it feels like a lot longer ago that I left the office, which is good. A bit of distance (even if it's only an illusion of distance) is good in life.

Outside of shows I performed in, I saw a strange play at the start of the day, and a friend's "work in progress" show after I'd stopped performing. Then I went out for drinks and chats with a couple of friends, whose wedding introduced me to my girlfriend... so I probably owe them big time.

A good day, and who cares which day it is.


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