It's been a relatively eventful few days in Cleveland. The theatre has a seemingly endless supply of pensioner-ushers all of whom seem to be very jolly and good at their job. A few days ago however one of them apparently lost it when watching the show as I was discussing Creationism. He started to rant and rave at the barman about how far out of left-field I was (yes, with my irrational belief in mainstream science and distaste for liars) and was eventually asked to leave the building. Odd.
While the show has gone down well in general yesterday saw one of the hardest shows I've ever had to do. The matinee performance seemed to be ill-starred from the beginning. We had a different House Manager on duty and somehow he seemed not to know what his responsibilities entailed. The audience were left sitting in silence for a minute waiting for him to make an announcement and the show was started with people still at the bar and with the back of the theatre all lit up.
Each of these things is trivial in its way but there's a reason that things are done one way and not the other and it doesn't help the atmosphere to do it badly and if the theatre doesn't behave professionally it tells the audience that the show they're about to see isn't professional either.
The cues at the top of the show were then a little late and somehow all of this led to me walking on stage to no applause... which is odd not because I think I deserve some kind of huge ovation, but theatrical convention would normally see a performer welcomed on to the stage.
The atmosphere didn't improve much from there. It's very strange when you're saying words that have made tens of thousands of people laugh before, in the order in which you normally say them and with the passion and feeling intact and get blank stares back from people who can't imagine how on earth these words could ever be deemed amusing.
There was an evening show a short while later which proved that the story hadn't suddenly been rendered unfunny so how is it that one audience can be so radically different to the others? Was something missing in my performance? Is the House Manager's announcement really so vital that it throws every other part of the show out of whack or is there some weird chemistry that will undo one show every 300 performances? Odd again.
There's one more show to do this afternoon and then we fly to Chicago and then drive on to Aurora. The only thing I know about Aurora is that it's where Wayne lived in Wayne's World.