This week I drove 2.5 hours to do a 45 minute show at Kiln Park in Tenby, to then drive 2.5 hours home. In theory, except for the show, this doesn't sound like a good evening at all. A Wednesday evening in March at a holiday park, in all honesty, seems like it would be quite bleak. The show room was approximately 20% full. Oh, and outside, it was raining a lot. Audiences members, in their dozens, sheltering from the rain, on their holiday. The situation was destined to be a failure. HOWEVER, it went surprisingly well! The audience was pretty lean to say the least, but they were an absolute delight. It genuinely made the 5 hour driving day worth it.
A happy accident happened in the show which I will try and explain, but in order to do this, I’ll give you an example of a previous happy accident. About 4 years ago, I used to do a bit in my show where I would juggle 7 balls and an audience member would catch the balls in a hat. This would usually take about 6 minutes and as a piece of material, it was fine. It worked. I hated the fact that I used a hat, because the Jon Udry on stage doesn't where a hat. So it never really meant sense for him to have a hat. And then one day, I was booked for a show, and I realised that I forgot the hat. Crikey (is a word that I may have, but probably didn’t, say). I had an hour or so to try and find a quick hat replacement, as I didn't have enough material at the time to just do another bit. I managed to find a brown paper bag. I performed the routine as normal, but with the brown paper bag, however this time, the bag started to split, and it created a lot of tension with the crowd and instantaneous comedy. It worked out so well in my favour that I went home after the show, and ordered 250 brown paper bags online. I still till this day perform that section in my show, and the bag 95% of the time, splits. It has improved the piece 10 fold.
So back to the happy accident that happened at Kiln Park. I have been working on a new section of the show where I juggle and talk into the microphone at the same time. The tension comes from the fact that microphones are really very expensive, and if I dropped it, that would be very bad! I have been really struggling to make this bit work, and I’ve been struggling to create that tension from the crowd. At Kiln Park, I was doing my 3 club routine whilst talking, and the microphone flies out of the holster around my neck, and heads towards the floor. I somehow manage to miraculously collect all 3 clubs, and catch the microphone before it hits the floor. The audience gasp. I then tell the audience how sketchy this was because “these are really expensive. Around £400. And if this hit the floor, I would probably never be allowed back here. and I’d basically be doing this gig for free to pay for the mic. So, in a nutshell, I should definitely not do this” At this point I juggle the microphone and 2 juggling balls and speak into the mic at the same time. This created the tension I’ve been searching for, FINALLY! Now, the next thing is to try and figure out how to fabricate that theatrical tension in every show!