Our semiannual club parlor show is coming up at the Ann Arbor Magic Club before the Canterbury Village Faire, so we are going to take advantage of another opportunity for Mirf to perform before a live audience. Live audiences are hard to emulate in rehearsal. I can put together a group of 10 or 20 friends but after a short time Mirf will become familiar with them as a crowd and not be the distraction that I need. Live audiences are continuously new and create stress for Mirf, it's a constant stream of unknown, besides he's the official club mouser so he needs to step up too. At this point Mirf's got one official show in the books and a meet and greet appearance at the Fire Festival a couple months ago now so we're going to use this show as a conditioning exercise. The parlor show has two showtimes which will be a great way to gauge Mirf's probability of handling three shows a day at Canterbury Village in just over a month.
As Director, Producer and Master of Ceremonies of the Parlor Show I don't mean it as an abuse of power to shamelessly use the show and venue to train Mirf, I like to think of it as a benefit for volunteering. 😉 Seriously though, I'll produce Mirf in his production cage at the beginning of the show and vanish him in his vanishing box near the end of the show before the finale act. I don't want to finish any shows with Mirf vanishing as the finale, that way a backstage handler can have him out of his vanishing box as soon as possible and be ready to bring him to me for the meet and greet after the show. Somewhere in the middle we will do a trick or two depending on the pace of the acts in the show. Mirf and I have been practicing acrobatic silks and a card trick in addition to his production and vanish for the show.
As the song "fanfare for the common man" plays in the background it's showtime!!! I'm preparing to load the trailer and Mirf seems to know what's up. I had to restrain him, first it was "where do you think you're going with my props" to "let me help you load these by tripping you". While I was staging props and equipment to be loaded onto the trailer he tried to run outside. It's not that he tries to run away from me, he doesn't like to be very far from me at all, he wants to play. I do believe he likes going places with me and performing onstage, being the star of the show at least that's what I perceive based on his demeanor and behavior. He is such a ham and people love him.
Mirf's travel requirements however are not exactly minimal. He requires a litter box, litter box cleaning tool, extra litter, disposal bags, food bowl, water bowl, food container, water container, toy rabbits' foot, wooden ball toy, short length of rope, travel backpack, and a roll of paper towels. You almost need a freight train just for the health and wellbeing of the wee one, kind of like hauling around another small mammal.
I load all of his props and gear... and the rest of the equipment needed for the show and head out by 10:00 AM. This will be Mirf's longest day yet.
The drive was uneventful Mirf is old hat at riding in the truck now, he sits in the seat and naps or looks out the window. While we were unloading equipment Mirf waited in the truck. After all the equipment and props were off loaded, I brought Mirf in and let him roam while we set up. He checked out the room here and there but mostly watched what we were doing, more like what I was doing.
The boy watches me like a hawk. Mirf did very well, I took him to the trailer for a "litter break" and rest away from the chaos before the first show, during the break and after the second show before we headed to the restaurant. Mirf conducted himself very well during the show. His presence on stage was calm and confident. When I uncover Mirf and hear the collective gasp from the room it makes my heart swell. Mirf loves being the center of attention and as we work together more, it gets better. It was a long day, and in both shows Mirf did fantastic, I couldn't have asked for a better performance.
After the show was over, the plan was to break down the show, load all of the props and gear into the trailer and head to a local tavern for food and drinks. I have a backpack that Mirf fits in, it has side mesh panels so he can see and breath unobstructed, it also has a zip out that fold open to double its size allowing him to lay down and stretch out. I didn't say anything to the doorman, or the waitress, I just wore the backpack in, and set it on the floor at our table, we ordered, ate, I gave Mirf food and water in his fortress and we all had a good time. When it was time to go, I paid my tab, zipped up Mirf's backpack, put it on and we all headed home. Mirf and I will be traveling all over the country together, there are times I have to take him places where he's not always going to be welcome, and I try to be as careful and discreet while being as respectful as I can. For the upcoming festival at Canterbury Village Mirf and I will be staying in a hotel and the hotel knows he's coming, some things you don't try to fudge.
Now the focus is truly on Canterbury Village, at this point we are 7 days out. Every day we are rehearsing in my office. I keep trying to think of what I'm missing. I know I'm missing something because live and rehearsal are worlds apart. Remember in his first show, the audio confused him because he had never heard my voice through the speakers like that. I've tried to condition him to loud noises, loud music, drums, live bands, dogs, other cats. Canterbury Village is where I plan to shoot video of our show for promotional and booking purposes. This is an exciting and scary time. We will be doing 3 shows daily with meet and greets and walkabouts between each show two weekends in a row rain or shine. Mirf did very well with two air-conditioned shows inside a building, we will see how he does outdoors...
Next time: Canterbury Village Medieval Faire and what did I miss?