#SamLJacksonStarsIn ‘Casablanca’:

#SamLJacksonStarsIn ‘Casablanca’:

So with the “Fail Whale Tales” now nothing more than a memory in the Twitter-Space, the odd Google alert that garnered traffic through people looking at it and the like, and a stack of posters that were too numerous to hang, ditto the FWT postcards that I’ll now use as index cards and bookmarks for magazines, it’s been more than a daily trip down the QEW to Hamilton for the Hamilton Fringe. The whole experience of building a show from idea, to script, to production was as arduous as it was rewarding. I’m a bit wired and knackered at the same time as I write this, fresh from the drive back from the Hammer, so here are the thoughts I currently have on it that are now able to be more than 140 characters in length.

The show idea stemmed from the Twitter shows that I did at the Rivoli for the AltDot’s New Material Night (have a poke around the ‘Videos’ section of the website and you’ll see how it went) where I told jokes through Twitter to a crowd in the room via projector, and to the rest of the world via Twitter. From those nights and subsequent chats with fellow comics and Fringers Chris Earle, Ron Fromstein, and Winston Spear, the germ of the idea went multi-celled organism. In discussing with them the execution of the idea, I decided that I would this time be on the stage with the computer so that people could actually see me on stage. Still typing in tweets and not saying a word throughout the show, the show would be projected and have an improvisational edge to it, taking suggestions from the crowd in the venue and on Twitter and responding immediately, creating improv segments before everyone’s eyes. They also helped me sort out how to provide some form of show arc that would have a beginning, middle, and end instead of a pile of things entered into Twitter with absolutely no connection together. The show had distinct moments that had injected areas of improv. So came the first night.

Having forgotten the first rule of putting on any performance, which is “Maybe some preview performances may be in order”, the opening night became the preview where I found out a few things about putting on the show. The first one being that after you tweet a few too many times successively, the TwitterCops shut you down. I kept tweeting but none of the posts went out to the internet. But I did keep getting a message telling me and the audience in Pepper Jack’s “I’d been tweeting an awful lot. Try again in an hour.” I wondered if they ever had something like this happen with the previews of “Rent”: “Wow, you’ve been singing an awful lot of songs with mope-y content. Try again in an hour.”

So, the hope with any show is that you get good reviews or word-of-mouth that will in turn drive people to see your show. Admittedly, the Hamilton Fringe was filled with plays, mostly dramatic in nature. Very little comedy or variety acts were to be found save June Morrow’s @FailWhaleTales got more and more followers as the week progressed. So I may just be on to something. Thanks to the Hamilton Fest for having me, Lauren my tech for the nights there, and everyone who showed up either in person or over Twitter. Oh, and to the lady who pulled me aside after the show Friday night and said my show was “an utterly unique experience”. I guess I can definitely thank you. Ditto all the folks who “@”-replied me on Twitter with ‘LOL’s, retweets, and shouted out specific tweets they liked throughout the show. The latest one of those gave me the title of this posting.

Oh, and to the lady who created a Twitter account after seeing the opening night and then followed the following nights and complained that nothing was happening on her end…you have to keep hitting ‘F5’.

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1 Comment
  • June Morrow

    Fringes can be like that – a bit of a rollercoaster ride (but without, hopefully, the vomitting – although not always). I thought your show was impressively written and really entertaining. Hell, it was edutaining (which, as we all know, is almost as much fun as restaurantainment – throw in some free wings and you’ll have a smash hit). If you bring this to Montreal next year you’ll probably do well.

    July 28, 2009 at 7:20 am