10/20/2007

One of Those Days







This was "one of those days" where the sun was shining,
the world looked beautiful with leaves showing their vibrant colors under bright blue skies - -
yet swarms of gnats were following me.

Ever have one of those days - - when the best laid plans go awry and expectations are out of whack?
Oh, yeah!


To start with I had agreed to two storytelling gigs on the same day. These were wildly different events - each in a different city - neither event had a track record for storytelling. Ah, me. What was I thinking? was I thinking?


What is it they say? As long as you are learning you are alive, right?

Now on on the bright side. The first gig was near to home and I saw people I know and we talked about possibilities for the future. That is always encouraging. And, it was fun!

The second is hardly worth talking about - from a storytelling point of view. For starters - when I arrived 30 minutes early - the audience had dispersed because the act scheduled ahead of me did not show up - and the organizers, without a plan B - had no way of holding kids there.

If I had been "the audience" I would not have stayed either - they had set up four hay bales for seating. Four hay bales - that's all. What were they thinking? Kids and parents have to sit to listen to stories!
The audience space was set in the middle of a ring of vendor tents from food, to jewelry sales, to the face painter. How could you expect kids to settle and listen to stories?

The mic was set on a stage four feet above the audience eye-level - I moved it to ground level so that I could have contact with the kids and that was a big help.

Soldiering on, I told Halloween stories to a handful of kids> They did enjoy the stories and we had fun - but I have to tell you the time it took to drive there, wait, and perform, on a Saturday afternoon, would have been much better spent doing almost anything else.

That said - it was a lesson which I hope will help me look out for myself better in the future.

TIP: What did I learn?
Ask more questions.
Question. question, question before you accept a gig.
Ask even the most absurd questions like: Will there be a stage manager to gather the audience and assist the performer? Will there be seats for the audience? and - most important of all:
Ask yourself -
Is this gig a right fit for storytelling?
Is this gig a right fit for me?