• Craig Malpass

The Fringe: Day 1 - NUMBERS

My show The Spider Glass opened today.

I have a venue that seats 65.

7 people were in the audience.

I was chuffed to bits!

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe has over 3,000 shows. Despite this being the lowest number of people I've played to in my performance career, I was grateful for every single person that came to the show. Especially those that came despite me shoving a flyer in their face on the Royal Mile.

Well, that's not entirely true. Sure, I handed them a flyer, but I also engaging them in conversation about the #MeToo movement and the work that's there for men to do. Some people said they had no opinion - or more likely had got flyer-fatigue, which is understandable on the M25 of theatre-going human traffic - whilst others really wanted to know more and shared their experiences of toxic masculinity, men and women. I came here to have a conversation and that's what I'm having.

Of the 7 people there was a reviewer. Watch this space. I'm hitting refresh on their website every 30 seconds so you'll be the first to know how many stars...or not, depending on the outcome!

With 19 more shows to go I'm in it for the long haul, and a celebratory first-show pint with Dan (our light and sound operator), and Josh (the show's director) was an apt way to start the journey. Grateful for his guidance and friendhsip, sadly Josh has returned home. Awaiting him are his wonderful wife and daughter, now he's dutifully parented me and my play to this point - though I still maintain his insistence on me calling him Big Daddy during the rehearsal period was inappropriate considering our subject matter! (I'm aware that even that gag could be a betrayal of my message...but I never said I was the finished article!)

Despite a lot of energy being expended, I still managed to see a show. Another of my own audience was Clay - a friend I met at a Going Solo Together event organised by Fringe Central - and was fully engrossed in her richly comedic style of storytelling whilst tackling the delicate subject of mental health. There were only 3 people in her audience, including me. Partly down to alack of having flyers til today, no fault of her own, these things could be seen as disappointments but we all quickly learn the important thing here is the attitude you bring.

Numbers don't mean everything. Stars, performances I have left, audience members, shows at the Fringe. They aren't the story. You can't quantify the feeling of community and inspirational projects that comes with being here. And that's what I have for the next month, with lots more conversations ahead. For now, I'm home.

I'm performing The Spider Glass between 3 and 25 August (not Sundays) at 1.35pm. Find out more info and book tickets HERE or via the-big-i-am.org.

Clay Nikiforuk performs Fun To Be Around. Find out more about her show here:https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/clay-nikiforuk-fun-to-be-around

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