This is it, the last day of the Fringe. The 25th, and final, performance of Shit Socialist.
I can’t say that this hit me particularly in the morning, as I still had my normal routine to go through. It’s hard to get emotional when you still have to face a good couple of hours of flyering.
Before we did that even, me and Sally went to see a show she had picked out called The Empathy Experiment. Performed by Rose Condo, she explores how attachment to our mobile devices could be holding us back from being more empathetic.
The show is ostensibly a talk, but in reality it’s a theatre piece (albeit, without the fourth wall) exploring her subject through various means, including poetry. Dr Seuss as a Sociologist, you could say.
It is performed well. Personally, it was interesting taking something delivered at face value, whilst at the same time clearly a performance piece. For a start, she says she had gone 24 hours without a mobile device as an experiment, but in reality had done the same show for many days on the run.
To be fair to Rose Condo though, she’s not really trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes – you don’t perform large swathes of a show in verse if you are genuinely trying to pull off such a conceit.
I can’t see why not using your phone would make you more empathetic, but I certainly do understand that time away from such devices is good for your mental health and general well-being. In that sense, she makes her arguments well, and in an engaging manner.
Final Shit Socialist
After some food, Sally and I got on with the final bout of flyering. I get a good audience again, which I would expect on the final day, but it is still pleasing all the same. It was nice to see Swob, a pal and enduring fixture of Bolton comedy, pop along to see my show.
I had an audience of 29 in total. I joked at the start of my show that I’d said I wanted 29 quality audience members, rather than a full room not pulling their weight (that 30th person is always such an arse, amiright??).
If I’ve ever felt an audience were not pulling their weight (and in Edinburgh, everyone gets those occasional weird crowds), then that was not the case here. They were superb, and I had an absolute stonker. Loved it.
If I’m being critical though, they were so good that it highlighted that there are still a couple of bits that, really, could be cut out. Here the reaction dropped to more than polite, but it showed that against the majority of stuff, that stuff could go.
After the bucket speech, I went in to my final story. As I was telling it, I could feel the emotions start to well up inside me as I realised, this was it. This was the last time I would say these words.
I managed to stay focused and get the punchline out. It hit great. I then went to thank people and couldn’t speak. A strange silence, as I took a sip of water, trying to stop myself from crying.
Eventually I spoke, broken up as it was, and told the audience that this was the final show. After 25 performances, and this being my entire life for almost a month, this was it.
Aside from how well it gone (because there were of course times when it was an absolute drag to performance, ce la Edinburgh), this had been my life. Almost a month. Done.
I think they appreciated my openness, as I got a lovely round of applause.
Oh, and the best bucket takings of the Fringe to date. So, that’s how you do it – cry!!
After taking some time in the sun to breathe, and saying goodbye to some of the guys at the Counting House, Sally and I returned to the flat, and packed our stuff to go.
Driving out of Edinburgh, the light was just making everything turn golden. A beautiful way to experience what is, frankly, one of the nicest travelling experiences in the whole UK – driving over the Scottish border.
I slept in my own bed. My wonderful, marshmallow bed. I spent time fussing my cat Squidge. It’s like I’ve never been away.
I’m already thinking of all the things to do next. Reflecting back on my time, thinking about what went well, what I could better next time. Also, thinking about what else I could do with Shit Socialist – where to take it to perform it next. A DIY mini tour, get round the festivals, other options perhaps?
I will write another blog in a weeks time I think, to reflect back on the Fringe as a whole. I’ve got a lot to consider.
Finally, thanks to the help from everyone – my wife, family and friends. Also, my fellow performers, especially ComedySportz, for sharing the ride with me, as I shared theirs. And to the people involved with both The Counting House and the Laughing Horse Free Festival. Amazing work done by them.
Hope everyone at @CountingHouseEd and @freefringefest enjoy the #edfringe after party tonight. I'm home now, but I raise a drink to you, after a superb job well done. Salut! pic.twitter.com/DFjO4qDDIO
— Chris Tavner (@christavner) August 25, 2019
My show, Shit Socialist, WAS on at 3.15pm, 1-25 Aug, at The Counting House (Attic). If you missed it, it may be appearing in a venue near you, soon…