So what does it entail? Well, generally we all have to get up early and deal with the day to day stuff of emails, tweets and Facebook, the household bills and general inquiries, just like any else. Debbie lays out and bags up the clothes we will be needing in the coming days, which varies of course. I will be loading any chargers, laptops, phones, addresses into the satnav, making sure the rabbits are happy.
Gareth will be driving the van quite early most days off to the venue and off loading it into the theatre. Martin and Andi will be doing more or less the same as us and we all get to the venue somewhere between 2pm and 4pm.
Decisions Decisions.... Does the venue have front curtains (House Tabs), front cloth ( a few feet upstage), centre stage tabs (curtains to you), is the rear stage tab a star cloth (twinkly lights) and so on? Is there access to the audience with steps up to the stage? Is there a backstage area where we can erect the rabbit pen or do they get their own room or are they in my dressing room?
Dependent upon the answers to all of those questions we decide upon the running order of the show because some places, for example, we can't get an illusion onto the stage without the 'look' of getting it there being ugly.
When we know which bits we can do the theatre lighting man features the various areas of the stage we will be using during our various appearances. At the same time the theatre sound man is connecting our laptop system to his theatre system and then the music and microphones cues are all checked for volume and so on.
Martin, Debbie and I are putting our tricks together and in order and finding a space to grab a sandwich and a cuppa, usually provided by the theatre, before getting dressed up for the show.
I then do a final walk around everything to make sure that nothing has been forgotten and we wait for 'clearance', which is when the Front of House staff call through to the Stage Manager (Gareth) to say that the audience are in and seated. He immediately checks with me, dims the audience lighting, brings up a backstage microphone to announce mobile phones must be off and photography and video are not allowed, cues my walk on music and away we go.
This tour is proving to be funny and the audiences' comments have been very complimentary... Stuff like... Dear Paul (and Debbie, Martin, Prius Rabbits et al!)
Came to the Darlington show with parents and sister, we had a great time (although you didn't make my sister disappear, not that you promised to...but it would have been nice, harrumph). I love magic, both old and new, it's that feeling of "how does he do that?" and that gives you a reminder of being mystified and entranced as a child; we lose that feeling too soon.
Having watched the BBC show for so many years (ah, the Bunco Booth) I just had to come and see you live. It was marvelous to see the recent appearance on Penn & Teller, too.
We all felt it was a great show, and what really made it was your obvious experience with people, your quick wit, and the knowledge that this guy really knows what he is doing. That helped the audience warm-up (we seemed a bit difficult to start with!). I must learn the elastic band trick so I can pick-up random women in airports...and making different numbers of cards appear from ladies bras is a must, too.
It struck me that if you and the troupe had appeared several hundred years ago in Darlington, then you would have been burnt at the stake as Witches & Warlocks. Thankfully times have moved-on, although I would still be wary of appearing in Hartlepool, even in 2011...
As I write we have a couple of days off to sort out, repack, catch up on office work, washing and so on...
Next show... Doncaster.