How to Keep Time at Summerhall at 10.15am daily. Here he shares his top ten tips for performing a morning show." /> How to Keep Time at Summerhall at 10.15am daily. Here he shares his top ten tips for performing a morning show." property="og:description">
Edinburgh Fringe newcomer Antosh Wojcik is performing his one-man ‘drum solo for dementia’ How to Keep Time at Summerhall at 10.15am daily. Here he shares his top ten tips for performing a morning show.
Or maybe balance when you’re having late nights. Much of the Fringe’s kinships forged and greatest performances occur at night. As sleep’s so integral to waking well and delivering a show AND you’ll have little room to replenish otherwise, you need to watch when you go for a late night. Perhaps save for the days off and/or if you have to be out, plan accordingly for waking.
When/who do you flyer when your potential audience is barely up? I thought about rounding up the morning Costa coffee crew for some breakbeats with their breakfast brews… Promo treads a thin line between inviting and invasive, and in the morning flyering can feel more invasive as everyone is still in their waking state. Instead, I’m fluctuating between flyering straight after my performance and later in the day for the following morning.
Photography by Madeleine Rose
I wake at 7:30/8am to deliver for 10:15am. No biggie, certainly not the earliest people get up to the most challenging things. I’ve tried locking into 8 hours of sleep and failed. I’m good on 7 hours, which means I can do a fair amount of evening stuff. Have tried a 20-minute nap post-performance. Coffee’s good. The key thing is to listen to the body when it needs rest. If the post-show decompression needs longer, then I reduce what else I do.
I adhere to poet and musician Roger Robinson’s crucial advice: ‘your performance begins the moment you step out the door and make your way to the space’. I’ve been adhering to this from as soon as I wake up, in order to avoid not getting out of bed.
The drumming in How to Keep Time is heavily improvised. I usually need a day of talking to people and interaction to warm into trusting myself to improvise – without this, I now must rely on thorough warm-ups with rudiments and trusting my ability to be playful. That means I knock around in my imagination and play with ideas as I walk, forming a kind of inner dialogue. I talk to myself in nonsense and follow my mouth muscles. This seems to warm up the glitches in me and encourages them at this time of day.
We all have those bad mornings when we seem to have got out of the wrong side of the bed and everything feels wrong. Performing in front of a paying audience is the last thing you want to do, at any point in the day. The morning performer has to fast-track this feeling, which calls for a deeper immersion and trust in the work you’re delivering.
It’s easy to worry about your audience at any time in the Fringe. For the morning performer, the worries are: ‘How many will come at that time of day?’; ‘Will they be receptive to the weird idea I’m performing at 10:15?’ And yes, there are morning yawns and missed laughs, but mostly, this slot really primes an audience. They’ve decided to be here at this time, to see you, so their attention can be exceptionally sharp and not eroded by anything else they’ve seen that day.
I guess the ultimate bonus of this slot is that I’m done by 11:30am. I finish my get-out, meet a bunch of beautiful theatre-goers if they stop by, and then the day is mine. Sure, there’s flyering to do, but I can meet up with anyone else, see a whole host of shows and see the sights of Edinburgh.
Photography by Madeleine Rose
No one is on before me, so there is a refined sense of calm as I haul my drum kit on stage, line check and lock in to the room. It’s a grace space that’s rare and perfect for zoning into performance mode.
There’s a beauty to ending someone’s day of performance with a show. There’s something else about being that first promise of the day ahead. How To Keep Time was the very first show of Summerhall’s Festival this year. It was an honour to begin people’s experiences of this wild, exciting festival. And as they carry what they first see in the day to their next shows, I too can carry this into each and every performance and feel renewed.
Antosh Wojcik & Penned in the Margins
HOW TO KEEP TIME: A DRUM SOLO FOR DEMENTIA
1 - 26 August*
10.15 am (60 mins)
£10 (£8 concessions; £6 previews)
* Excludes 13 & 20 August; previews 1-2 August.
Venue: 26 Summerhall
1 Summerhall Edinburgh EH9 1PL
Summerhall Box Office: 0131 560 1581
Fringe Box Office: 0131 226 0000