Will there be victory in Victoria?
“Irrelativity” is on the road as Barry tours his solo shows through the U.S. and Canada this summer. This dispatch is from Victoria, British Columbia.By Barry SmithSunday night: Final show in Edmonton. Really good show, I thought. My plan was to start driving right after my show, but I was hungry. Next plan – eat something, quickly, THEN start driving. I have about 20 hours of driving to do – need to get to Victoria by Tuesday afternoon, and not much more than 20 hours in which to do it. Like “Smokey and the Bandit” – “a long way to go, and a short time to get there.”I walk to the local pub, look through the window and see pretty much everyone that I’ve been on tour with for the past three months gathered inside. So much for Plan B. I go in, have a burger, say goodbye, even to the people I’ll see in two days. Three hours later, I’m on the road. I drive until about 3 a.m., then pull over and sleep in a rest area.Monday: Drive, drive, drive. Try my best to not sing the “Smokey and the Bandit” song, but am only moderately successful. I’ll be doing my new show, “American Squatter,” in Victoria, and I haven’t done this show since Montreal, back in early June. For the past few weeks, I’ve been joking that I’ll relearn the show on the drive from Edmonton to Victoria, the joke being that only a total loser would put it off until then. Well, the joke isn’t quite so funny as I reread my script for the first time on Monday night, having splurged for an actual hotel room. It’s a good script, really funny – I just wish I wasn’t so surprised by what I was reading, as I now have about 10 hours to memorize it. While driving. Loser.Tuesday: Pace back and forth on the ferry ride to Victoria, script in hand, memorizing. Loser. I arrive in Victoria with enough time to eat a quick lunch before my tech rehearsal. I do a tech run-through, fumbling through my show. Yikes. This seems like a good enough time as any to panic, as I open my show right after my tech rehearsal – in two hours. I follow through with the panic plan. It works. The show actually goes pretty well, despite the small audience, and only once do I completely forget what I’m talking about. Apart from that, I’m very professional. For a loser.Wednesday: Sleep. Glorious sleep. I run some errands and do another show. A couple of people show up. I ordered flyers for my show, and because of some glitch they aren’t ready, and won’t be until Friday, when my run is halfway done. I come back to my van at night to find the window smashed and the inside in disarray. Luckily I had taken all of my valuables out, so I only lost a few things.Thursday: I make some calls – $300 for a new van window! That little vent window! I could get a new windshield for that. And I need a new windshield. I call around for used ones but no luck. Looks like I am about to be kickin’ the old garbage bag/duct tape window look for the next few weeks. Classy. I take a nap before my show. Not a good idea. I’m all slurry and off, but it’s not a bad show. Only about a dozen people there. I am definitely not the hot show at this fringe, like I have been most of the summer. I’m spoiled. Got a four-star review in the local paper today, as well as a nice write-up (headline: “Barry Smith’s latest multimedia monologue masterpiece”). Despite this, people aren’t turning out. I’m starting to suspect that Victoria doesn’t like me so much.Friday: Pick up flyers, make more calls about a van window (nope), do an afternoon show of “Jesus In Montana” as a benefit for the Fringe Festival. A few people show up and stare at me. Easily the quietest audience ever. It was actually a bit creepy. At one point, during that joke where EVERYONE ALWAYS laughs, a single guy chuckled. It’s like I’ve mistakenly stumbled into the annual people-who-don’t-think-I’m-funny convention. And I’m the keynote speaker. Later, at midnight, I do “American Squatter” for a small, but enthusiastic, crowd. Big day. Whew.Saturday: Only one show today, which seems like a day off. A good show, not many people, but we all have fun. The food is good in Victoria.Sunday: Two shows today, “Jesus” and “Squatter,” starting in just a few hours. Then the closing night party. Tomorrow I head to Vancouver to start the whole process all over again. I’ll sleep well when October comes? Barry Smith’s column appears Mondays.Barry Smith’s column appears Mondays.
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