Performance Poetry@Playgroup Festival

I gave a performance Saturday night at the Playgroup Festival as part of the Forest of Thoughts Bedtime Stories and Poems.  I don’t know what ever possessed me to accept a slot at 12:30 AM, immediately following a burlesque act, but there you go. Sometimes we make choices that don’t support our higher goals, perhaps agreeing to do the Forest of Thoughts tent was one of those choices.  Or maybe it was agreeing to do Playgroup.

The writing really was on the wall when I was told one meal ticket per performance or 6 hours of volunteer work, whichever is greater, and was told by Emily Dubberly who booked me, that the 6 hours of volunteer work was the greater.

Or the free cocktails that were handed out to paying guests taking the bus to the festival, while at the festival the artists were given a free drink ticket, redeemable only for a can of lager.  Not even a cider or ale as options for those who don’t drink lager.

Then to attempt to redeem my meal ticket at the pizza stand and to be told that it had only a face value of £3.50 and I had to make up the rest of the £6 price (N.B. the same pizzas were sold for £4 at the Meadowlands Festival at the end of May!)

On the plus side, the guys in the burrito stand made excellent spicy bean burritos, and gave a meal in exchange for a ticket even though their burritos were £5.  So one could say they were taking a loss, though I hardly think they lost money as there was a constant line-up at their stand.  The guys who ran that stand were terrific.  And so were their burritos.

The doughnut and coffee stand was also excellent, serving up by far the best drinks for the best value at the festival.  The doughnuts weren’t any where near as good as the ones I used to get fresh from the pot at my friend’s house when I was growing up in Canada – but the coffee, tea and hot chocolate were such top quality it really makes no difference the doughnuts weren’t quite up to snuff.  They were a decent sugary treat – when they were cooked properly!

Back to Saturday night’s performance.  People were asking me what I was going to do. When I explained that I would improvise, they were surprised.  Then I explained that I have a large repertoire of pieces that I know by heart, and I had also printed out 26 pages of blog posts written since January wherein I had posted a poem, or an excerpt of a poem. And that what I did Saturday night really depended on the audience and how I was feeling.  And that is exactly what I did – though I did give the audience an option: the newer stuff read from the printed page or the older stuff performed from memory. They went for the older stuff – from memory.  Here’s what I did:

  • Vocal Improv – about 40 seconds
  • Intro to Belladonna‘s Adventures (rapping and singing)
  • No More War (a capella blues: rapping, chanting, singing)
  • Intro to Hope (spoken word)
  • Wasp (vocal improv by request from audience member)
  • Easier Said (a capella blues)
  • Short talk about my father (spoken word)
  • Listen:Choices (rapping and singing)
  • Tribute to Ani DiFranco (rapping)
  • Hey Mistah (a capella blues)
Wish I had a recording!

4 thoughts on “Performance Poetry@Playgroup Festival

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  1. These days I rarely see 12:30 Am unless I wake up to go to the bathroom at that time. Your story seems to indicate that performers are unappreciated in certain circles. But I guess you didn’t go for the food and drink and it sounds like some of the audience cared.

    Tossing It Out

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