Trickster's Big Night Out
Nancy Charley, the author of The Gospel of Trickster, the latest title to be published by Hercules Editions, talks about the book's launch earlier this month, which took place at Lumen United Reformed Church on Tavistock Place in central London. To mark the occasion, Nancy gave a dramatic performance of the entire text, and all from memory. Here she talks about the development of the performance and first-night nerves.
What a joy (and it was quite scary, too) to get to the premier night. I had first started working on the performance at the end of 2018. I had tried out individual poems at open mic nights, and done some 10-15 minute sections at new writing nights, but this was the first time I had performed the whole show to an audience. I was so grateful for the rehearsals I'd been able to do with director, Tamar Saphra, as it gave me the confidence that the piece could work. She helped me with setting the poems in a given space, giving the characters separate identities, pacing the show, and 101 other little things which I hoped would help make the show understandable to the audience. I love the chance to tell poems to people, whether my own work or others. It's being present with others for a moment in time for a shared, unrepeatable, experience. Even when I do the show again, it will be slightly different, the audience will be different, the venue will be different. And what a great venue it was for the launch - with the backdrop of the stained glass window lit by the evening sun. As I began the show, it was good to know there were people in the audience who were willing me to succeed - friends and family, and of course, Tammy Yoseloff, who believed in the text enough to want to publish it. So though the nerves were there, I really enjoyed being able to birth the show on the same night as the book was let loose on the world.
It's hard to know, as the performer, how well a show is going. I was acutely aware of the mistakes I made, though fortunately they were few and hopefully not too noticeable. To me, I was happy with how I did the show but will always welcome feedback, as I want to learn and improve. Many people were kind enough to come and thank me on the night, some gave good critical feedback then, others have since. So hopefully as I continue to take The Gospel of Trickster to other venues I will also be able to develop and improve the show.
The Gospel of Trickster is available now in the Hercules Editions online shop here