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This is a question Performance

Have you ever - voluntarily or otherwise - appeared in front of an audience? How badly did it go?

(, Fri 19 Aug 2011, 9:26)
Pages: Popular, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

Sales pitch lullaby
Picture the scene:

A young and fresh-faced BinDipper is 6 months into a new sales role for a large publishing company. Things are going quite well, he's exceeding his sales targets each month through a combination of hard work on the phones and a smidgen of luck and feeling pretty good about himself.

His performance has not gone unnoticed and his line manager decides that the time has come for young BinDipper to prove himself out in the wild.

His first taste of outbound sales is to be a powerpoint pitch to a group of agency execs. His line manager will attend for moral support but also to provide critique when they get back to base.

BinDipper is fucking terrified. He's never given a presentation in his life, let alone to a group of agency execs who he's heard are generally a bunch of cynical cunts who treat you like dirt.

The night before the pitch young BinDipper practices non-stop until he eventually falls asleep at 4am. He is however word perfect and can recite the pitch without looking at the slides, effortlessly segueing from one point to another.

Going into the pitch he's feeling pretty calm and confident but that evaporates the second he sees 25 stony faces staring back at him expectantly. Setting up the laptop and connecting it to the projector is far harder than it should be, mainly because he's unable to contain the shakes.

Finally he's ready and the hours of practice kick in and he's delivering the pitch somehow competently. Braving a quick scan of the front row, everyone seems to be mildly impressed (by which I mean there's no-one looking as though he's talking a foreign language) so his confidence begins to soar. He's on the final slide now and can almost taste the victory pint his boss is sure to buy him afterwards.

The pitch is done, and a triumphant BinDipper allows himself a long and lingering scan of the room, inviting the questions that will obviously follow such an amazing performance.

There are no questions.

But there are at least five people asleep.

There was to be no pint.

Ad execs really are a bunch of cunts :(
(, Mon 22 Aug 2011, 14:59, 15 replies)
Repeat performances avoided
OT, but WTF.

I went to a church school (purely cos it was closest, not cos my rents were god botherers) which fostered close links to the local abbey. Every year the abbey choir master would come in, gather all the boys of a certain age in a room and audition them for the choir. Those that passed would be tested further and ultimately induced into the choir. This was considered a great honor (fuck knows why) and if chosen it was expected of you by the school that you would do it. Although I could more than hold a tune (and still can), the last bloody thing I wanted was to spend my evenings and weekends screeching in church whilst avoiding being touched up my members of the clergy. So when it came my turn and he played the note for me to sing, I uttered a sound a screech owl would be proud of, the choir master screwed up his face and moved swiftly on.....performance and potential child abuse avoided....result!
(, Mon 22 Aug 2011, 14:19, Reply)
Stand up
I'm a regular on the open mic circuit in london and recently had a paid compering spot in front of 80 people all hen nights and stag do's. With a front row made up entirely of rowdy women I decided my first point of call was to tell this joke 'I've had a bad week, My mum's not been very well and my sister's just had a miscarriage...we're all going through a very bad period' it was met with shock, silence and then boo's to which I replied 'I thought women found miscarriaging HILARIOUS!?' ...I had to keep going back on after the acts to be greeted with incesant booing, jeering and shouts of 'you wanker!' but I thought i'd stay strong and stick to my guns and so referred to the evening I was having as 'how a jew might feel returning to Auschwitz for the first time' this was then followed by a plastic cock flying into my face. After that the crowd seemed to find anything they could to throw at me, plastic glasses and 2 more plastic cocks. It was the worst gig i've ever done and I usually go down quite well, but even stating this fact didn't seem to settle the cloud of angry estrogen that had filled the room. I ended with how both the marriages would eventually end one way or another, either with divorce or death and that i hoped it would be the latter, sooner rather than later. Bitter, a little bit...
(, Mon 22 Aug 2011, 14:02, 8 replies)
When I was at infants school there was a big Christmas show planned for parents to come and see.
I was quite shy and didn't like dressing up and performing but got involved in the show. I was one of four Snowmen that were to do a dance number. The choerography was simple at best, spin round one way then spin round the other way, jump about a bit. Then there was the bumping move which involved bumping into the snowman next to you. Now the snowman next to me was a girl in my class called Alison who i'd had taken a liking to. The night of the performance, all four of us are dreesed up in padded snowman suits. The dance starts we spin one way then spin the other, jump around a bit then I proceed to dry hump the hell out of poor Alison. All the parents thought this was absolutey hilarious and having now seen the video I have to agree.
(, Mon 22 Aug 2011, 12:35, Reply)
I sang in the school choir.
We used to perform Evensong every Wednesday evening, and always did two or three concerts throughout the year plus one every night during the weeks choir holiday. They always went well, and everyone enjoyed them.

Well, that was interesting.
(, Mon 22 Aug 2011, 10:39, 3 replies)
The princess and the pearoast
With thanks to Rachelswipe and Nunnerfly for reminding me of this...

Age 14 and our school decides to branch out a little by inviting in a local ‘modern dance’ choreographer to work with us during PE lessons for the next 8 weeks, the idea being that the workshops would end in a dance performance at the local theatre, choreographed and performed by us and videoed and edited by the year above’s media studies class.

So this effete knit-your-own-bloody-yogurt type turns up, trailing scarves and trying to get us in touch with our inner core through the medium of mime. Every PE lesson for 8 weeks, we have to pretend to be a tree or other such pretentious wank in order to build a dance production that truly represented our deepest longings and desires. Which mine were to rip this fuckwit’s arm off and beat him to death with the wet end.

The week before the performance we discuss costumes. Now, given my obvious physical failings (the extra six inches of height, the coordination of a stunned ox, together with the flat chest, poodle perm and NHS specs) and I’m hoping for a costume resembling a burkha. And what did we get?

Catsuits. With *takes breath and holds back the pricking of tears* tie-dyed tights over both the legs and with a hole cut in a second pair to be worn over the head, like a sweater. Mother of God.

The day of the performance and we’re handed our tights to put on. And some stupid, stupid fucker has bought them all in one size. Small. Which meant on me that the bottom half came up to roughly mid thigh and the top stopped somewhere round my collar bones. I begged and pleaded not to be humiliated in front of everyone like this but no, according to Wayne fucking Sleep the show was more important than the drink problem this was going to subsequently give me.

A good friend of mine who was videoing the performance said, and I quote “I actually wept in pity when I saw you. Then I stopped and pissed myself laughing.”

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go and take a valium and have a lie down.
(, Mon 22 Aug 2011, 9:08, 7 replies)
A year six performance of Bugsy Malone.
I played Fat Sam, back when I was young and thin and it was ironic. As a lead character, I got to have a splurge gun instead of custard pies. You know splurge guns? Basically a gun-shaped plastic shell for a can of party foam.

At the end of the show, we all had to line up on stage for photos as the head teacher walked in front of us, saying the usual thankyous.
I had a gun. I had half a can of splurge left. He was just...standing there.

So, in front of the entire school I shot him, execution style.

Fortunately, he took it very well, and the next night arranged to be hit with a custard pie. Good man.
(, Mon 22 Aug 2011, 8:53, 2 replies)
Does a TV audience count?
If it does I was in an episode of Bergerac (Ep 7 series 1 I think) with a speaking part. Big global audience for that still.

Other than that I have done hospital radio so there is no way of knowing of my audience were even alive, a charity stage show for some old folk that involved me drawing the short straw and having to dress up as a woman and thus learn one of those invaluable little life skills few men need (walking in high heels), and at the age of four being dragged up on stage at a large local fair and being asked inane questions by a condescending host who I am told I assessed when he held the microphone to me as "You're not very nice".
(, Mon 22 Aug 2011, 8:12, Reply)
I recently moved to China to teach English....
After a week of orientation, we are told we would be visiting a nearby town for an 'English corner' with some of the local kids. I would have imagined an English corner to be a few kids in a circle for the English teachers to have a small conversation with.

Not a parade of 100 kids, their parents, and about 100-150 other people including the local media. We were literally thrown into this parade, led to a stage in front of this crowd of 500. I am then told from the stage that i have to teach the kids a song. This resulted in me singing the them tune to "Happy Days (aka "The Days of the Week Song")" and "Old McDonald" in front of this crowd while being filmed and having several photographers take my picture. Bonkers country!
(, Mon 22 Aug 2011, 6:16, 5 replies)
FUNNY YOU SHOULD ASK!
I'VE DONE QUITE A LOT OF PERFORMING AS IT HAPPENS! BECAUSE I'M ACTUALLY BRIAN BLESSED!
(, Sun 21 Aug 2011, 23:56, 6 replies)
Didn't exactly go wrong
So, I was rather musical at school. I performed fairly regularly in concerts and occasionally at assemblies. In hindsight that was probably against my better judgement but hey-ho.

I remember the Evening of Excellence: some kind of event celebrating (non-academic) excellence. I was asked to perform a piece on the clarinet. I played the 2nd movement from Saint-Saëns clarinet concerto. I was awesome. I totally killed. I'd never played so damn well.

That's not really in the spirit of the question, so how did it go wrong?

Mum found my porn. Kinda put a downer on the whole day.
(, Sun 21 Aug 2011, 22:15, Reply)
I'd thought I wouldn't comment this week, for many reasons.
But the post below reminded me of something worth sharing.
A few years ago a friend of mine was asked to play guitar and sing at a christmas carol session in a Baptist Church, where some of his relatives are members of the congregation.
My friend isn't religious, but he said yes out of politeness, and asked me to come along to help out with the music.
We got there, and it turned out that the parish was currently without a minister, which meant that we, as the people on stage, were going to be leading a religious service.
My friend got very nervous, as he'd left the church in question a long time previously. As I'd lapsed from another faith, I felt no qualms about pointing out to the locals that we weren't really prayerful types.
"Don't worry, son," said one parishioner, "we don't need to be told how to pray. Just play the tunes."
(, Sun 21 Aug 2011, 20:53, 2 replies)
there but for the grace of god.....
my cousin, a devout born-again christian, got married a few years ago. now, i'm an atheist and she knows it, but she specifically asked me to give a reading at her wedding as i'd played an important part in her upbringing* and it would mean a lot to her and the groom.
at this time, i was a bit too large to wear anything that didn't make me look like a manatee in a marquee, so i was already feeling a bit nervous. added to that was the feeling of wrongness that came with reading aloud from the bible in front of people who not only believed fervently in it, but also knew full well that i didn't. with no introduction, i stood in front of a packed church and read in a stumbling, faltering voice. i felt a complete tit.
even worse, the next person to read was a member of their church, who recited his piece flawlessly, the cunt.
i'm glad i could, in some small way, help to make their wedding day everything they wanted it to be but, by fuck, i'm not doing it again.

*her words, not mine.
(, Sun 21 Aug 2011, 19:59, 5 replies)
this event happened more than 20 years ago, but it still makes me go red
i was 8 years old and it was the school christmas play. for some reason - which must have been other than to haunt me for the rest of my life, but i have no idea what it was - the school abandoned the usual nativity play in favour of some futuristic thing. i was one of 4 children who together formed "The Computer". we had neon orange cardboard tunics, made by our loving teacher, and underneath them we had to wear vests and black tights. anyone who remembers "wordy" from those bbc school programmes can get the look that we were going for.

the night before the performance, i remembered the black tights. our school uniform necessitated long white socks, so in despair at the lateness of the request, my mother dug out a pair of her old tights. the next day, i put them on, all looked well. time for the performance, we waited for the first act to be over. the second act, set on the spaceship, was due to start. the 4 of us climbed solemnly up the blocks and onto the stage. there was a gasp from the audience and then a massive roar of laughter. we were bemused but happy. our star quality had been recognised, and we hadn't even said a word.

star quality? brown-star quality more like. my mother told me later that she had given me a pair of tights with a hole in them because i said "tunic" so she assumed it would be longer than my arse. it wasn't. i had basically climbed up the blocks and flashed my arse at the entire school/parents in total blissful ignorance. apparently the mother next to her leaned over and said, "oof, wouldn't you just die if you were that child's mother?" to which my mother shamelessly replied, "god, i know..."

the easter afterwards we returned to religious plays. i was judas and my best mate was jesus. jesus was a big athletic girl for the age of 9, and her big horned feet pushed the blocks apart as she walked over them. i fell in the gap with a wail of despair and clutched at my saviour's robe to save myself. jesus promptly tumbled backwards and followed me down the crack of doom. the audience was treated to some rather unsaintly language before we were finally hauled out.

if i ever have kids - unlikely - they will never be allowed on any school stage, i don't think i could take the humiliation.
(, Sun 21 Aug 2011, 18:27, Reply)
Knob slobbering on camera- you're doing it wrong.
I'll just leave this here.
(, Sun 21 Aug 2011, 17:40, 4 replies)
The orange faced twat.
You know how back in the early days of TV, everyone wore massively heavy make up to appear "natural" under the lights and primitive cameras. Well many years ago, during a scout carol concert, some ejit (my scout leader at the time) decided it would be appropriate to wear the correct make up as we were being filmed and would be under strong spotlights. After about 4 applications of a substance I can only assume is normally used to dye jumpsuits for the American prison service I took my place in the back row of the choir and we all did our bit.

When we all met up, along with parents and non-scouts I had the lovely surprise of every other sodding person wandering up to me and saying "Loved the orange face." I must have looked like a 6 foot tall Dale Winton. Terry, you may have been a great leader but you are a complete anus for dressing me up like a 2 metre tall sunflower.
(, Sun 21 Aug 2011, 16:13, Reply)
The innocence of geriatrics.
In my mid teenage years I joined the church drama group. Come the pantomime I was cast as one of the robbers in Babes in the wood using a script the producer who was in his seventies had used when he was a youth club member in the late 1940s. My character's name was "Dirty Dick". Much sniggering from the youth.
The chorus made up of the Junior department of the Sunday school had a chant that included a verse of "The Hindus come from Hindustan" followed by "The Pakis come from Pakistan." There wasn't much cultural diversity where I grew up.

One the funniest things I saw was an amateur youth production of Snow White my brother was in. He played Grumpy which didn't require any acting on his part but he was and is over 6' tall.
(, Sun 21 Aug 2011, 11:32, Reply)
Back in my youth
I once attended a ceili (irish disco) on St. Stephens Green. This event had a few famous Irish Trad bands and Acts, was being televised in the states and a very drunk Daz in attendance...

Anywho they were looking for volunteers to come up on stage and me and my group of friends happened to be near the gate to the stage. A midst all the clambering I meekly rose my hand reckoning they would sooner choose a quiet fellow over drunken yob's. They did.

Led onto the stage with a few others we were given wooden spoons to play after a quick demonstration from one of the band members. Much to my disappointment I broke the spoons on my first attempt and ended up having to sit on the stage as all the others had their go.

Until I heard on of the old band members behind me. "Hey! Psst! Kid!" Looking round I saw a group of four great bearded trad banders grinning like kids. "Moon the fuckers! Go on". So I slowly got up from my chair. Turned my backside to the audience and Bam! America and a few hundred people caught sight of my full moon. Best part was the presenter didn't notice for a while.

It's not easy pulling your pant's up when your being physically thrown by three huge men off a stage.
(, Sun 21 Aug 2011, 8:15, Reply)
I Dreamed of this Topic Just Last Night!
I was heavily involved in drama in high school and through college, despite being a terrible actor. The peak of my involvement was playing a bit part in a community theater production of "The Merry Wives of Windsor", while also appearing as 'Grobert' in "Carnival" at college.

In retrospect, I was mainly in it for the babes - drama chicks are generally hot, and major attention whores. Easy targets, really.
(, Sun 21 Aug 2011, 7:12, 1 reply)
Charlotte's Web
I once played Charlotte in a Secondary School production of Charlotte's Web.

It consisted of hiding behind the assembly lectern and saying my lines. But I wasn't there from the beginning, oh no. About 2 minutes before my earth-shattering performance, I stood up from my place at the front of the stage (sitting on the bench) and scurried along the front row of the bemused audience to duck down behind the, quite frankly very small and not at all concealing, lectern before proudly delivering my piece.

It was so fucking smooth.
(, Sun 21 Aug 2011, 4:15, 1 reply)
Pythonesque
As a founding member of a Sci-Fi sketch comedy troupe, I used to do this sort of thing regularly. That's me in green.
(, Sun 21 Aug 2011, 3:51, Reply)
Quite possibly a pearoast
A beach party sometime early 90's.
My BF and I wander down the beach and things got a bit amorous.
Finding ourselves next to a big flat rock that was just the right height for indulging in some naughty sexeh time we got down and did the deed.
Wandering back to the rest of the group afterwards, was a bit surprised to be met with cheers and applause.
Looking around a bit perplexed I noticed that this large flat rock was silhouetted against the night sky and in plain view of the people sitting round the fire.
So much for thinking we were far enough away to escape notice when actually we were the performance act of the night
*still blushes and cringes *
(, Sun 21 Aug 2011, 1:35, 1 reply)
Lots of times as a child
My parents were Jehovah's Witnesses, so from a young age I regularly stood on a stage and gave presentations.

Fast forward many years to where I was doing a job and they were trying to get me to leave, but I dug my heels in and continued to search for another job as I had been doing since the first day in the job - it took nearly three years BTW.

Every two or three months, a group of employees came in to head office and were shown round. Each section gave a short informal presentation. Over the two years that I had worked there I had sat through several of these and watched a dozen or so bored people trying not to yawn, checking their watches and wishing they were back in their own offices.

My office had recently been reorganised and it was the first time the woman who had been promoted from a Scale 1 part time position over my head to have a go. I was looking forward to it as she had wormed her way out of the previous two and her boss had filled in for her. Just over an hour before the visitors were due, I was called over to see the boss and was told that it had been decided that I should do the presentation.

I returned to my desk and scribbled a few notes and then went back to work. Fifteen minutes before they were due I went to the loo and snuck out for a cigarette and was back at my desk in plenty of time. I got them all to get closer and began.

For the first time ever they did not look as if they would rather be elsewhere, I got a few laughs and a generous round of applause at the end of it. My three colleagues joined in enthusiastically and several of the visitors came over to thank me too.

Afterwards my colleagues all came up and congratulated me. The best bit for them was the look on the faces of the three bosses standing in the doorway.

It was good to know that a Jehovah's Witness upbringing has some use!
(, Sun 21 Aug 2011, 0:27, Reply)
I have a fairly loud, booming voice
I've trodden the boards a few times.
≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈(Meant to signify wavvy lines)
I was a Grape Dancer in Pippin. I was in a bit of a romantic entanglement with my Grape Dancing counterpart - as in we had found a quiet room in the theater & as dutiful, lust-filled teens (for the paedo-finder-generals - I wasn't over the age of consent, she was, reverse carnal knowledge ftw!) we were rooting each other senseless whenever we could.
My outfit consisted of a singlet, waistcoat and very tight leggings (I was a touch more svelte back then!). 1 evening after our "pre-show stress-release" we were a little late getting backstage. Now as most fellas will attest, when you've been hard at it you sometimes take a little time time to not be *ahem* tumescent. Which unfortunately was the case. On stage. Dancing with my lovely colleague moments after being balls deep in her (which didn't help my need for flaccidity). In front of hundreds of parents, school teachers and other paying punters in a big "proper" theater...
The director commented later that night that he felt I had "tackled" the part well and he was proud to have me as a "member" of his cast. The lovely lass and I had round 2 before we went home and a lot more fun before the season ended.
(, Sun 21 Aug 2011, 0:19, 16 replies)
Bird confusion
Well, 'twas an audience of one and she was the object of all my innermost desires. I took her to a coffee shop with the intention of gently and sincerely expressing my feelings for her, in my head were the mists of poetry of Byron and Shakespeare, but when the words came out of my mouth I sounded more like Begbie.

Ah well. Shite.
(, Sun 21 Aug 2011, 0:18, 1 reply)
I'll Just roast this pea right here:
About 15 years ago I work I worked in theatre. One thing I had to do as part of a production was operate a smoke machine.
During one scene I had to be sat on a piece of scenery as it was wheeled on. I then had to stay sat their for the whole scene, about 10 minutes, and operate the smoke machine on cue.
I was sat behind the scenery and and couldn't be seen by either the actor or the audience only people backstage. It was very dull as I couldn't move for the whole scene. Other people back stage would come past and try to make me laugh.
This was a panto and believe me doing the exact same thing twice a day gets very dull and many jokes are played backstage to relieve the boredom.

One day during the show as this smoke machine scene was about to take place one of the lads said 'I bet you wouldn't do that with your top off'.
'I bloody would' came my reply.
'Nar, you're too chicken'
'Fucking watch me'
So of comes my top and bra and off I go to sit completely still in full view of everyone back stage.

I have only just (really about 5 minutes ago) realised that this was so everyone backstage could sit and look at some 21 year old boobies for 10 minutes.
(, Sat 20 Aug 2011, 23:01, 5 replies)
Unintentional celebrity nonce.
I wish I was there to be honest.

Enrique Iglesias - Nottingham Arena, 8th June 2011. This has gone down in the places history thanks to two moments where he interacts with the crowd.

Firstly he pulled a couple out of the audience and sang a love song dedicated to them. I'm sure this goes down reasonably well most of the time, but on this occassion he really shouldn't have asked them about their relationship as two key things kind of ruined the moment.
1) They weren't a couple.
2) There wasn't much chance of them becoming a couple due to his sexual preferences.

Secondly, he pulled a girl on stage to serenade her, much like in this video: - www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6LHMBWHQWc

I'm told that the simultaneous sharp intake of breath from half of the people in the place when she announced she was 15 would have most certainly created a vacuum, if it wasn't for the other half going "oooooof"!
(, Sat 20 Aug 2011, 22:58, Reply)
Performing by proxy
Watching the fringe show on BBC 3, they were reading out tweets concerning meeting famous people in mundane places. The second one was from a "Mr. Scary Duck" and concerned meeting big Mo from Eastenders in a tiny yellow bikini.
(, Sat 20 Aug 2011, 22:25, 1 reply)
The hardest thing I've ever done, and the one I'm most proud of
What an amazing woman she was. Born in Yorkshire, her parents gave her the foundations of a remarkable personality. By far the brightest of us, her early teaching career showed the intelligence and strength of character she would bring to the raising of her sons. As a young woman she travelled widely, and Robert Graves raised his hat to her on Deja beach. She was working in Malta when she met Dad, and their six week courtship was continued by letter until she joined him in Rhodesia. They married there in 1958, and began 42 years together until Dad’s death in 2000. They will lie together in the shade of Holton church, near the house they both loved.

After she married, Mum put all her energy into raising her family. She took enormous pride in our achievements, and never berated us for our failures, even when these involved gross stupidity and blue flashing lights. Bringing up 4 boys, born in less than 4 years would have broken a weaker woman, and a less loving one would have terrorised us. You didn’t use the word “No” to her from less than three counties away, I can tell you. She took Dad’s postings in the RAF in her stride, even to Hong Kong, where the youngest was born. Four children under 4, in tropical heat and drought was no picnic. Later, she would teach cookery, how to clean, wash and iron, and in my case how to punch from the shoulder. “I’m not bringing up burdens for unfortunate women” was how she put it. As a wife she was utterly loyal to Dad. The best way to put it is that when dad joined the Air force, they asked the “family question”: Will your beloved be alright with moving about? Dad’s reply was “She was born in Yorkshire, met me in Malta and married me in Rhodesia” “Next question!”. She loved all her daughters - in – law, especially as they provided much needed female solidarity against the excesses of the men in her life. She was very proud of her 5 grandchildren, and was very pleased the first 2 were girls.

After we could be trusted to make the dinner and not put the whites in with the colours, she joined the Samaritans, first in King’s Lynn and then in Lowestoft. This was the expression of her faith in action, to help those in dire need. With Dad’s encouragement, she also began to study for a degree with the Open University. She made such progress that in 1999 she was awarded a BA with first class honours. I have seen her final degree paper, and I can assure you I could not understand a word of it. She was very pleased when my brother's own First meant there were 2 of us “summa cum laude” as the Americans would say, even if it was just a matter of weeks. In fact, summa cum laude, wholly with honour would sum her up. Thank you.


Given at the funeral of the Scarsmother on 8th August 2008, in front of a packed church.
(, Sat 20 Aug 2011, 21:31, 1 reply)

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