Look, I’m a pretty low tech guy.
Updating this blog every week is quite a chore for me. I really don’t have much patience for the internet and electronic banking, cell phone wizardry and all that jazz. Until very recently I didn’t even use internet banking, and still went every week to the teller at the bank to pay my bills. To this day I use a typewriter to type up thank you notes to my corporate entertainment clients. I love the typewriter. Mine was built in 1913, an Underwood. Its lasted 105 years at the time of this writing. Guaranteed the machine ( or this blog ) I’m typing on now won’t last 5 years, let alone 105. I like the feel of real things, that I can actually see and touch.
There is something to be said for this, in the case of my typewriter clients often remember me for it. Its uncommon these days to receive actual mail, let alone something typed from a 1913 underwood typewriter. In the case of banking, I rarely have a hard time keeping track of things paid because I get an actual stamp on the actual document and file that piece of paper in a real file folder. Hard to delete that, or have a magnet come by and wipe it out.
Armed with that information you’ll be shocked to know I use technology in my show. Naturally I resisted it for many years, but I’ve come around on a few things. Generally speaking I think we need to fight against ease of use.
I just came back from doing my tech rehearsal in the theatre on the Eurodam, one of Holland America’s wonderful ships. I hadn’t thought about it much, but I have the images that project on the screens before, during and after the show, along with my walk on and walk off music all on a little jump drive. Basically the production elements of my show are carried on a stick not much bigger than the size of a small snack carrot. Below is a picture of my general stage set up, for pre show…. the lighting and image cues are all on that small USB stick.
Ok, I know we’re not into the world of rocket science here, but isn’t it amazing? I mean, a decade and a half ago people were still bringing in CD’s and projection screens weren’t common in most theatres. Now in a matter of minutes the techs have my music and images and lighting all set….boom, done.
I used to push back against projection imagines and special music, or anything other myself at a mic stand on the stage with a spot light. I really like the simplicity of that. It took me a while, but I realized it serves my show and makes the audience enjoy it more with just a few little enhancements. In the case of preshow it really builds anticipation. Production elements fill the stage and round out the show, maybe even artistically elevating it. Even 10 years ago I’d have refused the tech, but I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t take anything away from ME, in fact it adds to the show that IS me.
Compared to the younger, new artists who come to the stage with enough electronics to run NASA, this isn’t much. For me though, this is enough. Production the audience notices, but allows me to fill the stage with my presence and be ME. No one loses sight of the fact that the show is me and I’m bringing people along for a fun ride. In the end, that’s what people are paying to see, the performer, not all their lights and smoke and automated….whatever.
I do like trying new things with my performance and this is one that really worked out for me. Image that, all these things in a zip drive. What a world. Its good to get out of your comfort zone every so often, after all the comfort zone is where your dreams go to die.
As always, Good Night and Good Luck,