First outing for Honey’s Happening – in my own front room
Honey’s Happening is the story of a middle aged suburban woman, living in Grange Park in 1968, who wants to change the world by hosting a Happening in her living room. Any resemblances between this and a middle-aged surburban woman living in Teddington in 2018, who decides to host a show about a Happening in her living room are purely coincidental. But giving Honey’s Happening a first outing in my own home was a great way to launch the show. The fact is, even though it’s for your friends and they totally get that a first showing will have a few rough edges, you want to showcase the piece as best you can. Then the feedback is based on stuff you haven’t seen, rather than what you always knew you needed to fix. And it’s way less stressful to set things up, do a run through and get changed in the comfort of your own home, with none of the hassle of ticketing, dealing with the venue and transport.
The flip side is that it can be hard to recreate the atmosphere of a real show. Asha and I did our best to create a bit of mystique by wearing full costume and make-up and not appearing until the start of the show. Meanwhile, our director, Sarah-Louise Young briefed guests in the kitchen to behave like a normal audience (!) preserving the living room as the show space. As the show began, Asha and I greeted our guests as Honey and Barbara with cheese and pineapple and Hawaiian Surprise, just as we will in Edinburgh, and I was very grateful that no one broke ranks with a ‘how’s it going Fiona?’
So what did we learn? That actually, with two months to go the show is in very good shape. The questions and ideas that have come in over the past few days suggest possibilities for experimentation and development, rather than a requirement for change. Our next date at the Phoenix Artist Club on 18 June will be a very different experience. We’ll discover a great deal more about how best to bring the spirit of a living room show into a public venue space.