Last night: 3 critics, 8 comps, and 30 patrons. A really solid night with some new things and laughs in different places. Marisol, Manny (SM), Cilla (ASM), and I are getting really good at timing things and playing off each other.
Today’s 2pm: 3 comps and 5 patrons. Slightly worried in that last confirmed what I thought about the show before we had audiences. It’s built to play for the kind of gene pool we had last night. Some serious indie theater vets, some indie theater newbies, some people who just appreciate theater, and some jaded bastards (don’t think I don’t see you, I’m talking to you most of the 90 minutes).
Unlike the first 2 performances, last night’s audience came in like a stove that needed the pilot light replaced. I think it’s partly the change from being in the hot weather, dealing with an awful ride on the MTA, and coming into a dark and cool theater. It took a little longer to get them there. But they did and it built and built and built so that by 10 minutes in, it was us AND them.
I was a little angry off the bat. Someone on the front row had her feet on the stage and she was texting away on her phone. I feel like all the energy of the room went into her phone until she put it away. Were this one of my solo shows, I would have made that a bit but I was playing Martin and he’s much more live and let live than me on stage. But, please, if you come to the show, listen to the announcement and turn off your devices. It is a distraction to everyone.
I was completely touched by the people who turned out last night. Brad Burgess, Bruce and Joan from Ego Actus, Sean Williams, Tim Sutton and Lloyd Fass from my Core Theatre Co days, Chad and Carrie from Hook & Eye, Joanna Parson (the show’s transcriptionist extraordinaire), AL Pearsall, Alex Orthwein, and people I didn’t know. I like people I don’t know, especially when they are well-behaved and attentive. They usually don’t have as much of a guard up. Even the native New Yorkers, who have resting “I’ve seen it all” face seemed to warm to this.
With so many critics there, I wondered a bit of how the part in the middle where Martin gives his philosophy on reviewing would go over with them. No spoilers but it’s probably the opposite of what a lot of critics think or things the newer ones have not considered. It seems to have landed OK with the reviewer from Broadway World, but I can only imagine I will get creamed for that by someone. I have money on the reviewer who came on Friday, but I’m hoping to be surprised. I must say that I don’t care because it is one of the many things that needs to be said in this.
We ran a couple minutes longer than we did the previous night. We had bigger reactions and we restored a few lines that were dropped. When we hit page 44 of 56, I know I have to pump it up a little bit because I can feel brains are getting full and I’m running on less than a quarter of a tank. Last night, I dreamed one of the audience members on the third row gave me notes about what worked or didn’t work. It was largely about how I live my life so I won’t get into it here. But one note was about a moment near the end of the show that he said didn’t work. I completely disagreed but wrote the note down anyway.
After the show, Brad Burgess gave me a big hug and said how much needed this show. I get hugs a lot but when Brad hugs you, it’s like the spirits of all his ancestors are going through you. Joanna told me how having done the most “drudge-y” part of the work of this, she didn’t know how we’d make a show out of the material but we did and it works. Our great sound and lighting guy Matthew had the same reaction. “It’s an actual show.” Alex Orthwein said how it’s not a traditional sort of play. How this show is about a good guy who has to deal with life. He’s one of several people who said he hopes this could move. Now, people have said that to me after shows before but it’s usually a way to avoid talking about the weather when trying to break through the awkwardness. But it’s different with this one. Based on a comment about how this is for New Yorkers who love theater, I think it might do well at 59E59. But they’ve never warmed to me. We’ll see what happens.
What’s nice about a 7pm show that stikes and is out of the space before 9pm, is you can go out a little and still get home at a decent hour. Aimee and I went out with Chad and Carrie after and solved the world’s problems at an outdoor table at Stillwater. What we can do to preserve spaces, how we can generate audiences, breaking through terrible Facebook algorithms and useless sponsored posts (Chad: Just write a long whiny post and you jump to the top of people’s pages), and why we do this crazy thing. A bunch of delightfully kooky East Villagers passed by. A big Citibike truck stopped to get broken bikes and put out fresh ones. Aimee said something funny while Carrie was sipping water and she had a spit take to her left. Into the pelvic area of the guy walking by. He did not slow down and kept going across 2nd Ave.
Around the time we were wrapping up, a guy in shorts and no shirt ran up near us and got a Citibike from the dock. He seemed crazy. He was grunting and started towards traffic. Then he went up the stairs to the Kraine with the Citibike where someone was holding the door open for him. We breathed a sigh of relief realizing it was a Neo-Futurist doing something for “Infinite Wrench.” Great idea for one of their 30 plays in 60 minutes. Based on the time of it, it must have been near the end of the night. The deus ex bike machina.
Off to our first matinee…