We are now about half way through the NY Frigid festival, I've done four of my six shows, so it seems like a good time to take inventory. So here's a few of the lessons learned so far.
Scaling the Show This was honestly something I didn't think I needed to be concerned with since I almost always perform in small theaters. I was wrong. I had planned to use the same flat that served me well in the last two spaces I performed. Both of those we're small and lacked wings. Under St. Mark's, however, has wings so exits and entrances are not a problem, and it is tiny, making anything that takes up space a liability. So after I performed with the flat once I re-choreographed so I could replace it with a piece of string tied to hooks on the back wall, on which I hang the “apps”. String is soooo much more portable and I think the new choreography is actually an improvement. So a win-win. I just wish I'd have realized that before I lugged that flat all the way to NY!
Marketing for a Small Festival The Frigid is a small festival – 30 shows – in a city that has three other theater festivals in the same month. This makes it a very different animal from other fringes, many of which are the only, or the largest, theater festival of the year in their city. Naturally the festival has a hard time standing out in the mass of performances of sll sizes happening in NYC. So there isn't as much of a festival audience to draw to your show. If I were to do this or any other small festival again, I would approach the marketing more like a normal independently produced show. Meaning, I would be contacting groups and organizations in my target audience well ahead of time and offering discounts to their members (one of the nice features of the Frigid is that they allow you to set your own price and discounts). I should be doing this to some extent anyway, but it wasn't my focus for a festival.
New Yorkers are Friendly At least as friendly as anyone else. On the plane ride here, I sat next to a young playwrite who, discovering I was planning to carry my large bag (with the flat) on the subway, offered to let me share his cab into the city. This shaved about an hour off my transit time. The New York based actors I've met through the festival have been awesome. They come to the out-of-towners' shows and are enthusiastic about having us here. And even though I do get a few odd looks on the subway because I'm experimenting with crazy hair for the show, no one seems to think much of it.
This is the first day I've had to relax a little and see a bit of the city. I went for a jog along the Hudson river yesterday, did the requisit visit to Times Square today and have found this amazing little tea shop in Greenwich Village to sit down and write this. Looking forward to just watching shows tonight.