13:10 – This Slate Is Intentionally Left Blank

13:10 – This Slate Is Intentionally Left Blank

Postby tomreeswilliams » 31 Aug 2014, 15:45


The venue is in the basement of Chiquito, a Mexican restaurant on Frederick Street in the New Town. The route through the restaurant (“follow the signs to the toilets”) wasn’t always clear, but audience members could wait at the bar upstairs and staff would direct them down. This year, Chiquito advertised a 20% discount offer in the Wee Blue Book, which seemed to attract people both to eat and to see shows.


The basement is quite a good room for comedy: compact, with a very low ceiling, and negligible noise from upstairs. There were 39 seats, arranged in rows, but not much more room for any additional audience members to stand. However, without a raised stage or tiered seating, any action low to the floor could be missed by audiences at the back. At the Get-In we fashioned a backstage area in one corner of the room, using tables, cloths and poles, for performers to wait while not on stage, and from which to operate the PA. The lighting was basic, comprising a fluorescent tube with some cardboard to direct light to the stage, but suited our needs. If the room was full, it could get pretty hot after an hour’s show.


The staff mostly kept to themselves, and let us get on with it, but were helpful whenever we asked for anything. The venue-act relationship didn’t seem quite as good as last year, but I would mostly attribute that to performers unknown who left empty glasses and litter downstairs, against the venue’s wishes. Our show was the first of the day, and we would often start by carrying up glasses and binning rubbish, while I know staff ended up having to clean as well.


We printed no posters, but paid for a listing in the big Fringe guide, and five of us flyered for about two hours each day before our show in the surrounding streets and by the Half-Price Hut on Princes Street. Additionally, there would normally be some flyering on the Royal Mile after our show.


Barring a single rogue day with just one audience member (she was brilliant), I would estimate an average audience of two thirds capacity, and perhaps five days when we filled the seats and had people standing at the back. This represented a significant improvement on our show last year, at the same time in Chiquito.


We were pleased with the bucket money we received, which also represented an improvement on the previous year. In general, audiences were generous and we had very few coppers at the end of the run.


The technical setup was simple, but sufficient. As described above, the stage lighting was a fluorescent tube plus a strip of cardboard, and there were always-on fire safety lights which illuminated the rest of the room. The PA was supplied by the Free Fringe, and came with two mics and micstands (though one mic cable was broken from the start) and a line-in cable for audio devices. We just used it for house music and off-stage announcements but, by the end of the run, both micstands had been mysteriously snapped in the same way – though they were still, mostly, functional.


The venue captain, Rio, was very helpful and kept in touch via text and email throughout the festival, keeping us all up to date and passing on any messages from the venue.


The backstage area we fabricated was reasonably large, but ended up being quite full of props and flyers by the end of the run. Storage wasn’t a major problem, but we often had to tidy it up before our show when we arrived in the mornings.
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