The teams from StoryBox (Chicago), Rapid Fire (Edmonton) joined members of Without Annette and On The Spot for a best-of-the-fest-at-the-nest.
The audience was sitting a bit far from the stage with the notable exception of 2 drunk girls sitting in front of the stage. One was quiet, one was loud–obnoxiously loud.
In the middle of our second or third game, the loud, drunken woman started singing really loud. John from Chicago did a nice job of yelling at the “neighbour” to shut up, then yelling at the “neighbour” that she had a drinking problem and finaly stopping the scene to ask her to stop interrupting. At this point, as host, I should have gone onstage and relieved John, a guest, from having to do this. But I didn’t. Part of me thought maybe she’ll finally shut up; part of me thought John seemed to be better at this than me; and part of me just didn’t know what to do next. The players on stage resumed the scene, she kept interrupting, and they finally finished what was a total energy-killer of a scene. Everyone was feeling rotten, and I was really feeling like I had dropped the ball. At least I had time to plan my next move.
From what I know of heckling, the next step in escalation is to show the heckler that it’s not heckler vs. players, it’s heckler vs. everybody, so I had the entire room yell (1-2-3) “Shut the fuck up, Daphne!” in unison. It was pretty glorious. She tried to brush it off, but under that layer of drunkeness, I could tell that her ego had been wounded. I wasn’t sure if she’d stop though; she still seemed very belligerent (and drunk). Thankfully, she did a little more arm waving, but gave up, went to the bar, got a verbal lashing from the staff, and left.
The show soared. The players seemed to have fun and the audience went home with a belly fully full of laughs. We abandoned the idea of long-form, but the short-form was great.
But what if she hadn’t stopped? What is the next level of escalation? Is it to ask the staff to eject her?
After the show, some of us closed out a bar with the folks from Chicago. It was really interesting hearing about the classes they teach at Second City and the projects they are involved in. I was left with plenty to think about. They were as nice as they were talented.
That was the end of the fest for me, seeing as I couldn’t participate in the final day. I say kudos to Terence for organizing a great festival. And big ups to everyone who performed and came out to watch. Except Daphne. Shut the fuck up, Daphne.