Oxfringe was delightful, rain notwithstanding. Just discovered that Fringe Review have me as Number 1 in their Show Highlights of Oxfringe. Bloody marvellous. Two people wrote really intelligent reviews on the Daily Info. I managed to rustle up quite a few old friends and acquaintances to come and see the show, so every night me and my doughty techie/mate, Jon, were able to go out with some nice company or other. Many apologies to Richard and Annabelle Lewis for completely forgetting to go round for tea.
Here’s another little thing for you to look forward to, emerging artists: when you get to my age, you don’t go to festivals and socialise madly all day and night, leaving a small gap of an hour or so when you perform your show. No. A typical day at a festival for the over-40 performing artist goes like this:
- Get up late, feel befuddled in unfamiliar bed, wish hadn’t had one and a half glasses of Sauvignon Blanc after the show last night. Have a light muesli-based breakfast. Sit around listening to Radio 4 in dressing gown.
- Leisurely bath (trying not to look at tubby midriff and broken veins, sorry rebukes to the lissom figure and smooth skin of yore, which I never appreciated when I had them anyway)
- Go online and see if anyone’s written any reviews. Ring up box office and see if anyone’s coming to see the show tonight. Think about handing out a few flyers on the street. Don’t.
- Stumble out into nearest attractive street, establish bottom on cafe-seat. Have a decaffeinated coffee and read The Guardian. Wonder about whether to book to see someone else’s show. Don’t.
- Have a little walk, look at buildings of festival town (festivals inevitably held in a nice place eg Buxton, Edinburgh, Bath, Oxford so lots of architecture). Get sidetracked by clothes or jewellery shop. Buy self a ‘present’ for having got it together to come to the festival.
- Exhausted. Back to B&B/ flat or house of kind friend/prison-like student accommodation. Go to bed for a 2-hour afternoon nap. Forget that arranged to have tea with someone.
- Wake up with 2 hours before show. Eat some vegetables and an egg. Panic about unironed costume, and whether or not there’ll be facilities to rectify this at ill-equipped theatre. Attempt desultory vocal warm-up and a few asanas.
- Stride to venue, purposefully, but with the acid of stage-fright rising in the throat. Suddenly remember that I dropped lines last night, but can’t for the life of me remember what they should be…
- Greet Front of House with a professional smile, wait in no-man’s land of the lobby or corridor for previous company to vacate dressing room, dress hurriedly, look in mirror, despair, check techie has turned up, go to the toilet (twice), drink water, still can’t remember those lines, fingers crossed there’s an audience, find the stage entrance, lurk, hear the music fade, see the blackout, step out, do show.
- Back to dressing room, fling clothes onto sweaty body, out to foyer, receive praise from lovely audience/wonder where the hell everyone fucked off to (did they HATE it?). Let local friends/fans/stalker shepherd me out of theatre to pleasant hostelry (or nasty one, depending on what’s still open in a town that may not have London’s enlightened attitude to opening times). Say I’ll stick to a mineral water. Don’t. But feel drunk and knackered after tiny proportion of the alcohol I used to drink. In bed with a camomile tea well before the time when most emerging artists are thinking about shagging that stranger.
Something to look forward to, kids…(if you last as long as I do, hah!)