It was a night that could easily be forgotten so I want to write it down.
This past Saturday our house team played to a full house for the 9pm show. It was an awesome crowd so willing to laugh at our comedic efforts. We all went home feeling the high from a good performance.
But that’s not the show I can’t stop thinking about.
It was the 7:30pm show–the family friendly gig that usually is brimming with kids and parents and PG-rated material for the whole family.
But this night no one showed up.
It happens occasionally–by some strange cosmic chance one audience fails to show up. As 7:30 came and went–that feeling set in–like no one came to your tenth birthday party. We had no choice but to wait for the next show–90 min away and hope our bad luck and mystical forces wouldn’t play double mischief.
Then one man walked through the door dressed in a navy blue peacoat and sporting a vaguely European accent. He let us know he was visiting on business. It was ten minutes after curtain…but since no one had showed up we made the choice to give this traveler a show.
Was it the same as a show with a every chair filled? Nah. But was it special? For sure. And it made me think of this quote from a Vanity Fair article with Lizzo:
“Early in her career, Lizzo performed to empty rooms but considered them “paid rehearsals.”…Lizzo adds, “I always had a very in-the-moment understanding that this was the story; this was the journey. This ain’t it. This is why a lot of people get f***ed up. They’re experiencing their life as ‘this is it’, and it’s just part of the story that I’m going to look back on and remember when I played and nobody was there. But I always played my shows to the one person I could see…”
Lizzo echoes an experience so many creatives have whether a musician, a comedian, an actor or a novelist. Sometimes we show up and no one is there–but sometimes that’s when we get to remember WHY we create. Sure, it’s for those full house moments but it’s also for the one person even if that one person is you yourself–the creator.
And I’m grateful for the reminder.
(And our new Danish friend)