This time next week we will be arriving in Dublin for a week of performances as part of the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival. Performing abroad may seem like the height of glamour but as with most aspects of touring, the truth is very different.
Now is the time I share with you my biggest talent. I’ve never told anyone this before. But my biggest talent is actually the most important part of fringe performing. A skill so vital, our show just cannot continue without it. My talent has nothing to do with writing or performing or anything creative at all. I am a superstar suitcase packer, a pro at fitting a whole production into Budget air line hand luggage. Not only that, but all my personal affects too!
So that’s 40cm X 50cm X 20cm of pure, unadulterated crammage! Yes, it’s a new word!
Feel free to continue imagining our jet set lifestyle complete with three suitcases, a floppy hat and scarf as we sail, care-free, through to the departures lounge for a quick champers before takeoff. But, right now, I’m going to tell you exactly what we take in our hand luggage and why traveling is so very stressful.
Set, Props & Costume
We’ve afforded ourselves the luxury of sending an led box (part of our set) to our venue ahead of time, but apart from that absolutely everything is traveling with us. The sleek white Lino which I love so very much has been replaced for a white tarpaulin which will fold nicely into my suitcase and all the props will be wedged in however they will best fit! The ultimate fear will be if anyone questions why we are travelling with such an odd array of items. Empty lube bottles, a dildo, a video camera… Hopefully the presence of our marketing material will serve as confirmation enough. I hope so anyway! My costume will also be folded into the mix with enough clean white briefs to last a week of performances. My costume shoes will probably have to serve as my daily foot ware for the entirety of the week. Gotta save whatever space you can!
What’s a bit of marketing I hear you ask. Well, a weeks worth of marketing is about 100 posters and 1000 flyers. This is the part where we not only start to worry about our suitcase zipper but we also start praying to the theatre gods that nobody weighs our luggage! When did paper get so damn heavy?!? Thank god our suitcase has wheels; there’s far more chance of bypassing any weighing procedures if we’re not struggling to lift the wretched thing.
We’re a modern kinda company so our tech is important and abundant. We’ve invested in trying to get small but powerful equipment with this travel nightmare in mind. We have a tiny mic for podcasting and an iPad to edit on and run the show off. This also serves as our company computer for all the show admin we’ll have to do over the week. It’s a lovely compact little set-up. Apart from a small snag… The bastards at apple have just updated their IOS and it no longer lets us use our mic with our iPad. MotherFuckers! So now we will have to take the laptop too. Less compact, less lightweight, less convenient! Why does the world hate us so much?!
Believe it or not, I still have to try and live a semi-normal life for our week away. But being a budget kinda boy, I’m no stranger to traveling light and holidaying on only hand luggage. This time I’m having to be even more strict, as my personal needs really are the bottom of the list. Any toiletries that aren't absolutely vital will have to wait for the first drug store I see in Dublin. It will be clothes, a shaver and my inhaler… because I can’t do a show If I'm dead. Any unsuspecting suitcase pockets will be stuffed with chargers, headphones, tweezers and any other crap I deem small enough and important enough to join the journey. One pair of jeans will last a week and any remaining space will be used for underwear and t-shirts. I’ll be enhancing my enjoyment of an overcrowded Ryan air flight by wearing as many warm layers as possible. I’ll be the guy that looks like the Michelin man, sweating my way over the Irish Sea at 30,000 ft.
So that’s a little run down of what you’ll find in my suitcase. It’s best I just tell you these things, as if you opened it to look for yourself it may never close again. Hopefully we won’t have to do this for customs!
Please cross all your fingers for us that everything makes it to Dublin on time and in one piece. We have a show to do!