“How goes darling?”
These three words posted on my Facebook page by my friend Lucinda Davis just made me burst into tears. And I can hear her now, asking; “But WHY?!!” Because the fact that someone would take time out of her busy schedule, make room in her on or off-line social life to inquire after my well-being touched me. There must be something seriously wrong with me if I cry when people are nice to me.
Aw, who am I kidding? I get weepy for all the regular reasons, too. Yesterday, before the show, I was also teary. And whiny. Downright miserable, in fact. I couldn’t explain why… perhaps it was because I hadn’t heard from my brother since the suspension bridge, or maybe it was that article in the Georgia Straight… We sent a blanket email to everyone we could think of, telling them about our abnormally low attendance and asking them to pass on word of the show to anyone they knew in BC, and the journalist basically reprinted our plea and used it as an attempt to shame Vancouverites into coming to the play. Most likely, though, it was just the nature of the solo show: it gets lonely sometimes.
As usual, Jeremy dealt with my funk using just the right combination of patience, compassion and ridicule. Twenty minutes before the show, when the house opened, my spirits had lifted enough to give those twelve or thirteen people a good story. And then they started showing up: Cat and Jamie from the fantastic show that shares the space with us in the Fest, Other Side Through You; all of Jeremy’s West Coast family; Barb and Keith from Morning bay Vineyard, back with five of their friends; my brother’s father with three of his friends; Martin Sims, a great Montreal talent who relocated to Vancouver; my old friend Leroy with who I must have played a hundred games of pool at Bar St. Laurent between ’89 and ’91; and Kelsey, my waitress from Sunday night at Timbre Restaurant on The Drive, who pinkie-swore that she would come, but I had been ready to chalk that up to tequila; and then some; and then some.
All told, we had an almost full house. Furthermore, they were one of the best houses we’ve ever had. I’ve discovered that solo shows are actually more of a dialogue, really; with the other “voice” being the audience—just as much of a real, changeable relationship as any two-handed sparring partner. In this case, that was literally true on several occasions: some people in the audience exclaimed whole sentences to which I could direct my responses. It was wonderful. What it was, I realised, was a web: a community of one-to-one connections, gathering together to form strength in numbers. I wasn’t doing it, we were. We were all laughing, not at my little gender-bending jokes, but at the pure joy of all being together, going down the same road. So, yeah: I love you, theatre.
That’s how I am, Lucinda, thanks for asking. And thanks Alison, and Roy, and Dad, and all my friends who propped me up with all their beautiful arguments for how everything was going to be okay. And what the hell, I’m going to bounce off into the superlative stratosphere and say thank you to my beautiful Montreal community from which I sprang, and to this West Coast community, who took a couple of their precious hours of sunshine to come sit in a dark room with me. Everyone is awesome.