Upon investigation, none of the venues in the Fringe festival I’ve seen so far offer any chance of breaking even. One venue, for example, calculated the total cost at $2500. That only offered one showing in “prime time” which is 8 pm on a weekend. Some showings might be on weekday afternoons or late at night. Assume 40 seats. Multiply by the suggested ticket price of $12 and then assume you managed to fill the house all 5 times. (Unlikely since you are competing with 400 other shows.)
You can already see here that it would be impossible to break even. It gets worse. The Fringe itself charges $300 for registration. Then more money to actually advertise on the Fringe website. You have to do your own marketing. Posters and postcards are the primary media. You also get to subtract the price of the tickets you had to comp media and critics. And there is a massive amount of schmoozing, something that just kicks my anxiety reflex into overdrive.
I hold absolutely nothing against theater owners making money. Most are small businesspeople struggling to keep the doors open. The attraction is to do your play in an event where there are critics and media and talent scouts and producers looking to the next big thing. Since I’m not making a career out of it or looking to tour, I don’t care. I need to minimize expenses.
So it looks like I’ll be doing it instead at the Two Roads in Studio City and not at the Fringe. They are too far from Hollywood to be a Fringe venue. It is a 56 seat theater near the fashionable NoHo district. Alan will give me an entire weekend, up to 90 minutes per show, 3 days in prime time for a hell of a lot less. If the crowd is nude, the ticket price can double. It’s also where I’m taking acting lessons which means I can shop my work during class time and get critiques and suggestions.
Yes, I will be nude in front of my class. Uncommon but not unheard of.
I’ve figured out my entrance. Blocking is as important as speech. I’ll be wearing fuzzy slippers which will come off at some point in the show. And I’ve figured out my first prop. It will be a brandy snifter.
I’ll be playing a slightly tipsy old man talking about the difficulties of age. I’m drunk because what I’m talking about is painful and alcohol is a release. It will give me visual “permission” to be extremely frank, loose physically and uninhibited behaviorally. I’ll segue into reminiscing about my past and how I got where I am. And then go on from there. I will be able to do and say things a sober person wouldn’t consider.
And now I have to write an actual script. And practice stumbling around drunk with a drink in my hand while coherently delivering my lines.