by Cameryn Moore
Earlier this week, my producer here in Peterborough, Ontario, told me that pretty much the only dedicated theatre reviewer in these parts—certainly the only one who wouldn’t feel compelled to burn my press release and then burn their own fingers off after having touched it—was asking about the possibility of doing a dress rehearsal the day before I opened and letting them in to see it, so we could get a review out early in the three-day run. I was… hesitant.
In the end I went for it. The money from this run is all going toward my UK tour, and I need to pack the house to the best of my ability, so I went ahead and ran slut (r)evolution in front of four people. It was a calculated gamble that seems to be paying off. The review went up 12 hours later, has been retweeted and reposted a bunch, with signal boosts from the reviewer’s three friends who were there. While it is early days still—at this writing I had a more-than-half-full opening night on a Thursday and a lot of random and tipsy interest from people at the post-show bar last night—it feels like it may go a little bit viral, in the contained-virus sort of way that anything can go in a town of 75,000 people, half of whom are devout Catholics.
Do enough people trust the reviewer and read them on a regular basis? How well are they networked with my producer, that is, how much can my advocate lean on the writer to move the press out fast? How well is the reviewer networked in social media, and how keen are they to get their own writing out in front of people? How respectful is the reviewer in correspondence, when requesting the preview?
In the meantime, this private-performance approach has become an option for me, one that I hadn’t really considered before. And to be honest, on top of every other potential benefit, it does give me a little added prod about one important thing: give every audience your best, whether it’s one person or a sold-out house.