One month from today, October 25th, Why Would I Mispronounce My Own Name? opens for a seven-week run at San Francisco's Marsh Theater. I am so excited.
Folks ask me, don’t you get nervous?
You bet I do.
Before each show, I’m back stage and this voice inside my head yells at me, “what the heck were you thinking? You’re gonna go out there in front of all those people?” I take a few deep breaths, put on my ear buds and start dancing. I especially love the Rolling Stones’ Dancing in the Street, Donna Summers’ Last Dance, and many songs from the Buena Vista Social Club. Dancing calms me down.
Believe me, I’ve given plenty of thought to all the things that can go wrong. What if I forget some lines?
Well I have . . . and the audience never knows.
What if for some reason technology fails and the sound cues don’t work?
I had pondered that question and had told myself -- you just keep going. While the lighting at a theater and sound cues enhance a production enormously, at the end, it’s your story, and how you tell it, that wins audiences.
Last year when I was performing at the San Francisco Fringe Festival, the house manager announced the show, and left the stage. Audience applause, I’m in the wings, waiting for the music that opens my show to walk onto the stage. And . . . nada, nothing happens. Complete silence for a minute, and then the crowd starts to stir. I walk out on stage and say, “I don’t know what’s going on either.” The audience laughs nervously. The tech up in the booth calls out that there was a glitch, now fixed, and tells me to go backstage and she’ll start the cue. I go back stage and nothing happens. I come back out again and shrug my shoulders. The tech motions me to start the show, without my opening song.
I say to the audience, “imagine the song Maria from West Side Story playing right now.”
The audience starts singing. “Maria, I just met a girl named Maria. And suddenly that name will never be the same to me.”
“OK, this is where the song stops and I start my lines.” The audience laughs and the show is off to a great start. This is live theater, anything can happen. This turned out to be one of the best shows I’ve ever performed.
Audiences are so open as they enter your world for the hour-long show. It is a beautiful experience to feel your audience so present. So I’m super excited to be performing for seven weeks in San Francisco, and I am so very grateful to all the folks who have supported me as I’ve developed this play over the past three plus years. It really does take a village.
Every time we’re in a theater, we are always reminded to silence, or better yet “turn off our phones.” Please heed that advice, as you’ll note in the attached clip, a phone that goes off during the performance is distracting to the performer and to the audience, and it’s horrifying if it happens to be your phone.
So here’s my PSA. Don’t be that person whose phone goes off during a show. I look forward to welcoming you and your silent phones at the San Francisco Marsh Theater between October 25th and December 8th, shows on Thursdays at 8 pm and Saturdays at 5 pm. And if you aren’t a Bay Area resident, please pass the word on to friends and family in this area. Gracias.
To purchase tickets click here.