Report from Week Two of Performance for One
Week two of Performance for One was on Governor’s Island, courtesy of the Dysfunctional Collective. We have worked with Dysfunctional before, though their house this year is on Colonel’s Row, which as the name might seem felt a bit more upscale, with brick faces on the houses.
On day one, at the field across from us, was the Vendy Awards, and it was hopping. A huge line waiting impatiently to taste the best that food trucks had to offer in an all day celebration, with awards given out at the end of the day. Very few of them seem theater inclined, though one woman did peel off for a ten minute break from the line to experience our performance before returning to her husband, who had kept her place.
In fact, the early hours were particularly slow. In the first two hours, only that woman came to visit, despite the fact that I gave away every postcard we had to the large crowd. In the house, Yvonne Roen waited upstairs in a small bedroom, while downstairs I and our intrepid intern Tojo tried to inspire interest.
Then, suddenly, halfway through the day, there was a flood. I don’t know if people tired of eating food truck samples or if we were the beneficiary of a nearby art exhibit, also on Colonel’s Row, but pretty quickly every slot was filled with eager audience members. We were even fitting in a few extras, between slots.
Yvonne commented that the little room upstairs still seemed almost too big, at first, compared to our previous venues, but as the emotional energy of the audience filled it in the second half of the day it suddenly regained the intimacy of the earlier performances.
By the end of the day, Yvonne had received a literal standing ovation and someone had stuffed an anonymous $100 bill in the donation box. So we were feeling pretty successful.
On the next day, with Melissa Rakiro, the pattern was much more steady and spread out. There were no Vendy Awards, which might have been part of the reason why. There was never a complete lull, nor the rush of audience we had had the previous day. One reward from that day is that we had a number of audience members approach us very skeptically, unsure of what they were about to experience. When they left, you could tell they were pleasantly surprised—not hard to read, as two or three of them told me so explicitly. One audience member told me he had been having an awful day up to that point, feeling crabby and out of sorts, but as he sat there with Melissa he felt his mood lift completely.
We’ll be back on Governor’s Island next week, to see what comes. In the meantime, today we visit the Broadway Community Mall on the Upper West Side for the first time!