Guitar Craft day 5

Most of the day is spent working towards the evening’s performance. Our trio (Trio el Reporter) ditches last night’s idea and brew up a short piece that’s about 80% improvised, which is Ben and Roberto’s preference. I play as little as possible but the little I do play seems to enhance the piece.

Discussions on stage management get quite fraught at times, but eventually a strategy emerges. It’s necessary because Guitar Craft audiences are notorious for sabotaging performances, in order to make the players ‘wake up’.

To pile on the pressure, this is also the day we can have personal
interviews with the instructors. I choose to meet Luciano, Robert and
Mike, the UK GC organiser, but regretfully don’t see Hernan and
Leonardo because of time pressure. Robert is friendly and affable. I
tell him of the paranoia that’s setting into the group about the kinds
of sabotage that may be applied. ‘Oh, you should have seen the courses
we held in Argentina; I couldn’t believe how the audience treated those
performers.’ ‘This is supposed to make me feel better?’ ‘Well, we’re
not in Argentina now. I’m sure the audience will be perfectly sweet and
receptive.’  We talk about the origins of Guitar Craft and about
moments of insight.

In the evening we’re ready for the
performance. Kind of. We have a plan that involves our ‘security’
people protecting the space until the last minute, then leaving to join
the group as we enter the room. But the group has failed to get in tune
and there’s argument between the ones who say we have to get in tune
and the ones who say we have to start on time. Predictably, as we enter
late, we find chairs have been removed and obstacles placed in our way,
but we’re ready for it and handle it with grace. We play the
small-group pieces first. GC audiences don’t always applaud; they tend
to be silent if a performance has been powerful, moving or just very
well executed, applaud if it’s been funny, had good audience
communication or recovered well from mistakes, and boo if it’s late,
poor or lacking in presence. We were hearing our own small group pieces
for the first time, and some of them were surprisingly intricate and
well-rehearsed for the time given. Ben clowned us into our trio piece
and the audience found the music hilarious, giving us warm applause and
cheering. During the large group piece someone starts playing with the
dimmer switch on the light and plunges us into darkness but we manage.
We leave, put our guitars away, and return to join the audience in what
turns out to be a powerful, energised silence.

Afterwards the
relief of tension causes me to laugh hysterically when I find that the
flowers the Italian women were wearing for the performance came from a
shrine to the Pope on the first floor!

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