This theatre is so much bigger than the one I played at in Prague. There's three more rows of seats behind these!
I’ve just finished my Montreal Fringe technical rehearsal. These are normally stressful events, where you discover, after two hours and forty-five minutes, that you’re still only on lighting cue number 15 (of 48) and there are only fifteen minutes left in your three allotted hours. But I was in and out in 1 hour 50 minutes, and that included chatting at the end about the Calgary Fringe. Did I forget to do something?
* * *
Coming here directly from Prague is having a salutary effect on me. Even though I’ve lived in Montreal for eleven years, I’m seeing it through fresh eyes, as if I’m a Praguois on holiday. Adding to this effect is the fact that the last time I performed in the Montreal Fringe (2002), I didn’t live here and was, in fact, on “holiday” (it’s not really a holiday when you’re doing a show, but you know what I mean—I wasn’t working). So I'm kind of channelling that energy right now.
I realize that I don’t normally interact with the city I live in as if it were there to be enjoyed, the way I experience cities when I’m away. This rediscovery of Montreal as a delightful, laid-back place of joy has already made my participation in the Fringe worthwhile, even if nobody comes to see my show.
But it’s not nobody who’s coming. I checked the online ticket sales this morning (ah, the joys of technology) and there are already four people who have bought tickets for my opening show, in two days’ time. Who are these wonderful, mysterious people who are so organized? Why are they coming to see my show, amidst all the other offerings?
I feel giddy.
* * *
And I have a kind technician named Patrick who is going to run my show and make the lights do things as I work my way through my tale of a lonely guy and Saint Sebastian.
Is this not a beautiful development?
I love everyone right now.
I swear, I haven’t been drinking or smoking pot. I’m exhausted, jet-lagged, and exhilarated. I know where Running to Saint Sebastian is going to live for the next week and a half. I can see forward.
* * *
Tonight, I’m performing a short extract from my show at a preview of LGBT-themed entries in this year’s festival. I always feel more stressed when performing in front of other queer folk, because if they don’t like me, it hurts more. (If straight people don’t respond to my performance, I can always choose to believe they’re homophobic, or just don’t understand.) Feeling rejected by your own minority community is unpleasant.
Anyway, why am I writing about this? This is a stream-of-consciousness, sleep-deprived rollercoaster ride.
I’m on a high that feels unsustainable, based as it is on the fact that I did my technical rehearsal in under two hours!
Theatre practitioners will understand. And elite athletes who are ecstatic when they shave a tenth of a second off their best time.
I need to go now and find a characterful, perhaps antique, but not expensive mirror that stands up by itself.
The high-performing athlete, having posted a personal best time, is about to walk up boulevard Saint-Laurent and find a treasure.
* * *
Later: I did find it, in a second-hand store. And a beautiful Oxford volume of Tennyson's complete poetry (I quote him throughout my show). And a gorgeous old cape-like wool jacket for $35.
It’s one of those days.