Alice Dryden (huskyteer) wrote,
Alice Dryden

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Performance Art

Sydenham Arts Festival is in full swing in my 'hood, with all kinds of theatrical, literary and artistic goings-on. Last night, the excellent Kirkdale Bookshop held a short story evening, and I signed up to read one of my works. ("One of the more family-friendly ones, I assume," as one friend put it when I told him of the event.)

slightlyfoxed had also volunteered to perform, and I persuaded a posse along in the form of atommickbrane, mykreeve and foozzzball (who was betrayed by buses and missed most of my bit).

The glamorous venue was a nightclub next to a petrol station, pitch dark except for the far corner, which had been set up with a chair and a lamp. We were told that there would be eight stories, with a break after the first four. The crowd was twenty-odd strong, and I awaited my turn with some anxiety.

It came in the last slot before the interval. I did my best to slow down, and project, and make eye contact with the audience. People listened. I got smiles at the cute parts. I got laughs at the funny parts. During the break, a couple of people came up to me to say they'd liked my story, and to ask me interested questions about it, at which certain members of Team Husky went ha ha, you've got groupies.

It was intoxicating.

slightlyfoxed took the penultimate slot, with a sci-fi number I hope will find a home in print and a wider audience (although those who merely read it will miss out on the narrator's voice and the hand gestures, both of which added greatly to the appeal).

There was a lot of variety on offer, with flash fiction, funny first-person pieces, part of a comic novel about the badger cull, and many instances of the F-word. At the end we voted for a favourite by writing our nomination on a piece of paper and passing it to the front (way less embarrassing than the show of hands I'd feared). And, readers...I won!

I was elated and petrified, and chose to acknowledge my success by bobbing up from my seat and ducking down again rather than marching to the front to shake hands with the organiser. Then my posse and I, in somewhat giggly mood, made tracks for the pub.

Audience and readers alike paid £3 entry, and I felt I owed my support group drinks all round (even though they all offered to buy me one), so I finished the evening financially poorer but considerably richer in the experience and ego stakes.

The bookshop has put my story up on their website, and you may read it here: The Wolf's Holiday.
Tags: writing

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