AT THE MIC – Mike Delamont

When to walk away

It’s opening night. The show I am doing is one that has already been to two cities, but I have never been truly happy with it. I have made all the changes I wanted to and I am positive that when I walk out in front of that crowd that it’s the show I finally want it to be.

The theatre is completely sold out and the audience has that wild first night feel. Nobody knows what is going to happen and the feeling is electric. I can hear the muffled sounds of my pre-show music and the audience filing in through the PA in my dressing room.

I always sneak up to the control booth to say hi to my technicians and watch the crowds get seated. This show has a sing along portion just before the show starts to The Proclaimers’ 500 Miles. The audience is singing and clapping and whistling. The sound from back stage is deafening. The song ends. The theatre goes dark. My intro comes over the loud speaker. It’s showtime.

What I don’t know when I walk on the stage that night is that the next morning I will have a five star review from every single media outlet in the city and that the rest of my shows will sell out within 48 hours.

This show is a first for me though. Every once in a while I get somebody who walks out. I understand that, my show isn’t for everybody. (I have certainly walked out on my fair share of shows). This night though, I will have three walk outs. The most I have ever had. Only – it’s the same guy all three times. Yeah … You read that right.

Five minutes into my show I hear a man walking down the steps of the theatre. I see him slowly making his way to the front of the audience, and then out to the right and around the corner. I don’t say anything, because I don’t want him to feel bad. Moments later he comes back in and walks up to his seat. At this point I assume that he had to pee and the door people told him that if he leaves he can’t get back in (festival policy) so maybe he thought he would hold it. Five minutes later, the same thing happens. From the back, all the way down, and then out. When he walked past a second time I said to the audience: “That happened twice right?” I thought for a moment I was going crazy or having a stroke. He came back in shortly after that and back up to his seat. Five minutes later he walked out again, this time for good. He seemed either drunk or not all there to begin with, and never once said anything to me. I riffed on it for the next 10 minutes. One woman actually asked if he was a plant. I said yes, because who wants a nice polished show when you can be interrupted every 30 seconds?

The strangest part was he was sitting at the back. Why didn’t he just go out the back door?

It was one of the strangest things I have ever seen. I mean, walking out on a show? Sure, that’s your right. Twice? Yeah, maybe if it’s a modern dance show. But three times?

That’s just rude!

FRINGE

God Is A Scottish Drag Queen II

Downtown Activity Centre

Aug 28 – Sept 5

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