Monday, 18 April 2011

The difficulty of things practiced...

Earlier this month I did Stand-Up for the First Time at the Miller, which as the name suggests was a stand-up night for people, like me, who had never done stand-up before. Although I've done a lot of Improv performance, and love the nerves you get before going on-stage, there was something about this night that was giving me a different kind of nervousness. But what was there to be nervous about? After all, it was just a 5 minute slot.

I think the answer lies in the fact that the stand-up set was something that I had written and put my actual thoughts down on a page. Being nervous about this is little odd, in that the real subconscious you is more likely to show itself during improvisation, and surely the threat of unveiling this is something that should be feared more? Having a script to rely on was in effect putting a curtain in front of the subconscious and taking back control of the destiny of the 5 minutes that you'd be on stage.

It was this control that was making me nervous and I was way more concerned about what the audience would think of my "set" because I had spent time writing it (admittedly not as much time as a should have) than if I was doing Improv. As late that 6pm that day I was still seriously contemplating chucking in what I had written and just Improving something up on stage. I thought better of it, after all, what's the points of challenging yourself to do stand-up if you just fall back on something that you're comfortable doing?

As it happened, my set went OK. Of course it would have better if I'd had the opportunity to test it in front of audiences beforehand, but that was the whole point of it being a first time. I do think I have the nugget of a very good and potentially funny idea (The Moment of Clarity), however it does need some work and the reference to Hitler invading Poland was probably taking it a little too far.

As for everyone else, I'm not going to name names, but having seen both nights of SUFTFT, I thought the overall quality of everyone performing was excellent. Would some of them have gotten booed or heckled at a normal comedy night? Probably - but it goes to show how much difference a positive outlook makes. If you close your ears and eyes to something new, it's only yourself that's missing out.

My next blog will be on the simularities and differences between Improv and Cricket. Focusing on the question of "form".

C Jam.

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