Barry Smith: Irrelativity
September 13, 2010
VANCOUVER, CANADA – Here’s a week in the life of me, on tour…
Monday: Up at 5. Yes, 5 a.m. Fly from Aspen to Seattle, pick up van from friend’s house, where it’s been parked for the last two weeks. As I drive away his property values immediately increase. Drive to Vancouver. The Canadian border guard asks me if I have any firearms. I say no. He asks if I’ve ever been arrested. No. “Never?” he asks, sounding genuinely shocked. He sends me inside the cement building to talk to an official. Like always. I explain why I’ve been back and forth to Canada all summer. Tell him I’m doing a show. “What kind of show?” A comedy show. He looks at me as if to say, “You don’t seem very funny to me.” He has a point. Still, he stamps my passport and lets me in. Get to Vancouver, find where I’m staying, eat some sushi for very little money and go to sleep.
Tuesday: Up early. Pace around for a few hours trying to memorize all the new stuff I’ve added to my new show in the last few days. Wonder why I do this to myself. Drive to pick up rental projection screen. Get lost, even with a GPS. Apparently there’s a Vancouver and a NORTH Vancouver. Nobody told me, or the GPS, this. I was looking in the wrong Vancouver. Arrive at technical rehearsal on time despite it all. My technician plays me the pre-recorded announcement that will play before each performance. It basically says, “Hi, welcome to the Vancouver Fringe Theatre Festival. The show you’re about to see might suck, but don’t let that discourage you from seeing some of the other shows here at the festival.” Great. I walk around afterward, putting up posters for my show until about 11 pm. Such is my life. I eat a late night sushi dinner for under $10, including tip.
Wednesday: Up early. Still trying to memorize new changes to script. Time is running out. Have to do a CBC radio promo at 11 a.m., which cuts into my rehearsal time. Drive to CBC, say some things into a microphone. Thanks. Next. Back to where I’m staying for more memorizing, which means a lot of pacing back and forth. I have to pace when I memorize. My show opens tomorrow. I really should have the whole thing committed to memory by now. What the hell am I thinking? Nap time. Head to the festival site to check in. Run into other performer friends. Quick visit turns into four hours, time I had intended to spend memorizing. What the hell am I thinking? Bedtime.
Thursday: Up early. Rehearse. Rewrite. Rehearse some more. Have to move the van before it gets ticketed. Pace around, trying to remember what I just wrote. Pace some more. Show opens at 11 tonight. Eleven p.m.! What the hell? Take a nap. Wake up. Still like six hours till showtime. Feeling sluggish. Pace around. Take some ginseng, which I never do before a show. It kicks in right about the time the show starts. I talk very fast for an hour. It seems to go well. And quickly. Only a few times during the show do I have absolutely no idea what to say next. That’s always fun.
Friday: Up early, even though it’s a day off. Catch myself applying deodorant in a coffee shop. I used to try to be subtle about it, but apparently now I’ll just put on deodorant in the middle of a conversation. It happens when you’ve been on the road for a while. To me, at least. I’m a class act. Spend the day handing out fliers. It’s what I do.
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Saturday: Up early. Rehearsing. Yes, more pacing. I walk down the sidewalk rehearsing, muttering to myself like a crazy person. Need to get a bluetooth earpiece so I can mutter on the sidewalk and people will think I’m on the phone. Or just make a fake one out of cardboard. Rehearse most of the day, then do a show at 7. The show goes really well. Best performance so far of my “Every Job I’ve Ever Had” show. I can now officially declare that my new show doesn’t suck, despite the pre-show warning. And yes, I had my doubts.
Sunday: Day off. Still have a week left at the festival. There will be much pacing ahead this week. Probably ought to pace myself.
(Next time … The exotic life of Barry continues. And you are there!)