I once got booked for a show that, at the time, sounded like a lot of fun! It was a music festival out of town where there was rumored to be a large turnout. This was also one of those weekend festivals that everyone camps out at. I didn't have a problem with the camping part, I know how to pitch a tent and don't have issues with sleeping on the ground. The group that I was with were only booked to perform one night of the event, which, on the night of the show, became increasingly reassuring.
Trying to get changed into a burlesque costume in a tent is difficult. Trying to put on a wig and make sure it is situated correctly in a tent -with only a compact mirror- is even more difficult. I made it work though and had a friend help to make sure everything looked right. The evening had begun and we were all ready to go on stage. There were a few bands before us, then we were to go on before the headlining band.
I remember sitting in the dark audience in a fold out chair, waiting as the last band before us closed out their set. I remember being ready to walk up the step to the nicely lit stage that was prepared for the entertainers of the event. I also remember how difficult it was trying to walk in the grass while wearing heels and how my ankles would start to shake with the unevenness of the ground. But, with all that aside, I was excited to be able to get on stage and share my act with a brand new audience.
Unfortunately, that didn't happen.
Instead, as I sat in my chair waiting for my cue to go on, I watched as the headlining band took the stage. They started to bring their instruments onto the stage, taking up every inch that us performers could have used. Someone in my group went up to discuss the issue, that we were supposed to do our acts first, however, the band did not oblige and instead suggested we do our performances in front of the stage while they continue to setup for their set.
So that is what we did. We had to perform our acts in front of the stage, in the dark, in the grass, with no microphone to announce us, WHILE the band was behind us on the lit stage setting up their instruments. Nobody could see us. A few people in my group actually ran to their tents to grab flashlights and held those up to each performer as we danced. It was completely ridiculous! However, I am actually glad to have had the experience. Although it was some pretty terrible conditions to try and do a burlesque routine, it definitely helped with my ability to adapt and work with whatever situation is thrown at me. I think you need to have a couple "less than ideal" situations when performing, you learn how to go with the flow and it will make you a stronger performer in the end!
So, what are some of your burlesque horror stories?