Monday, February 21, 2011

On to the Phil in Naples

The theatre is next to the private airport on the grounds of the Ocean Reef Club. We kept hearing the planes take off and land during rehearsal, but never heard a sound during the show. I would like to believe they said, "To show respect for Mr.Johnson, no planes will take off or land during tonight's performance," but I think the real reason is: anyone who wanted to arrive or leave during Presidents day had already done so by 8:00 in the evening.
It went well tonight but it was odd. Reactions were different than any other time we have performed this show. John remarked that I kept changing tactics to try and find their energy. I would get it for a while then it would change and I had to go a different direction. It made for an interesting show and they gave me a very gracious standing ovation at the end. I appreciated it because John and I worked very hard to pull it off.
I think this venue is used to mounting concert type performances, basic lighting and rock and roll sound. The lighting tech said they were stretching their comfort zone with this production. He enjoyed the opportunity to use his artistry. Others were not so willing to work harder for us than they had for Neil Sadaka two nights before. Once again John Ivy proved that he is the master of the theatre and was able to pull it all together, sometimes on the fly. He was able to spoon feed some of the techs and still have their respect and admiration afterwards.
Early in the show I realized that this was more like a corporate show audience than a theatre audience. Ocean Reef Club is a small exclusive community and everyone knows everyone else. It was basically a private show. Like a corporate audience they were not so much enjoying if for themselves, but always aware of how the people next to them were reacting. I do a lot of corporate entertaining and deal with that dynamic in my club act, but it was weird to do The To and Only for that type of crowd.
It was a success and everyone seemed to be happy and enjoy it. I am sure that this show was not what they expected and from my perspective it took them a while to "get with the program".
That is live theatre.... you never know. The reaction of an audience is so subjective and has everything to do with so many things out the performers control. I will never tire of trying to figure an audience out. It is never the same, always a challenge and a dance on a razor edge. I wonder sometimes if I am drawn to it for the joy or the sheer terror of the unpredictability.
Now it is on to Naples. My hero Jimmy Nelson is coming to see the show there. I really want it to be a good venue for him if no one else. We have a weird schedule of two shows an evening. We will barely finish one before we have to reset and do the next. Not like a matinee day, more like a comedy club evening. Again I wonder if they are expecting more of a concert than a "real" show. We will play the cards that are dealt and it will be yet another experience in the saga of the TAO Truck Tour.
As you were,


Roomie said...

Mandy and I hope that for yours and John's sake that the TAO truck has the "Air Ride" feature!!!!!
Carry on,

Kathy M. said...

We thought your show at Ocean Reef was awesome! We are still cracking up over "It's a monkey joke, lady!!!!" When will you be in New York City?