A very good evening: one in which i added to my growing experience and confidence in working the stage of various cabaret venues around and about London – and one for which i should extend heartfelt thanks to the master of ceremonies at the Velvet Tongue, Ernesto Sarezale.
The event, which pops up approximately quarterly on Monday evenings in Hackney’s Bar Kick, describes itself as London’s “erotic literary soirée”. I have a sneaky feeling that the word “premier” may be insinuated in there somewhere. Or maybe not.
Still, its a good evening and maybe a few folks who read this might like to put the next show date in their diaries: October 29.
Loads of creative stuff, mostly poetry, some prose, a little bit of the downright eccentric (in which category, i should probably include a wholly silent act who decked themselves out in table cloths, and then went on to smear first strawberries, and then wine, over one another, the stage and, in small measure, those audience members who were sat too close to stage side).
I read two works: a prose piece, and a somewhat tongue in cheek poem about, um, girly sex aids. The second went down far better.
So what did i learn. Well, in descending order of performer geekiness:
1. Check the sound levels first and make sure they suit. I am quietly spoken. I know i’m quietly spoken. So i need to get the mic levels adjusted to MY voice – and not as happened tonight, find them suddenly veering all over the place as the techy guy decides to give me a quick helping boost in mid-sentence, leading to screechy feedback and me being seriously uncomfortable throughout the first half of my set because i was booming and deafening myself.
2. Form takes precedent over creativity. I get away with some quite creative prose in small audiences – but as the intimacy fades, it becomes harder to hold an audience with the sort of slightly oblique prose-y stuff i do. Poems work – worked tonight – because i can shape the humour to fit the metrical structure. So do jokes. Remember this, Jane!
3. Learn material. While it is perfectly acceptable to read, i think this works against what i am trying to do: ties me to a stationary position…prevents me from using my body. Future performances, here and elsewhere, i shall put in the extra work and know my set by heart beforehand.
Last up – and maybe just a general life tip, as opposed to do with performing – is
4. Do not just grab the nearest lipgloss shaped tube from your handbag in the dark and apply it to your lips shortly before going on stage. Tonight’s audience were, i suspect,slightly puzzled as to why one performer (me) suddenly leapt from her seat and bolted for the loo…they might even, on closer inspection, have noticed a nasty black streak across my lower lip.
That’s right, folks. I had just attempted to gloss my lower lip with mascara! Not a clever thing to do.