Nov 14 2017
I'm booked to do a 20 minute talk in a school. I haven't had enough time to prepare and a series of surprising people keep wanting to talk to me about completely unrelated things.
The announcement is made. "Welcome to the stage, Holly Stoppit!"
Speckles of sporadic applause.
I look out, noticing that the audience are spread out on 2 tiers of deep shadowy booths. Squinting into the shadows, I notice they are all adults. Where are the children?
I begin a flurry of stuttering apologetic non-funny nonsense. The audience don't seem very engaged.
I decide to look for the kids. They're out the back in a greenhouse classroom, watching me through a tiny little telly. I know I can't reach them through that, so I stay, make eye contact with them, breathe with them and give them my best material:
"It wasn't always like this, I started from humble beginnings. I grew up in the circus on a strict diet of candy floss and popcorn"
I go back into the other room to find the adults all talking amongst themselves. I push to reach them, raising my voice and ramping up my physicality. I can't reach them. I feel desperate. I notice there's music playing. Bad techno. A Spanish woman sits on the floor with a silver 1980's ghetto blaster. I make a joke:
"There's a time and a place for that and it's neither here nor now"
She looks cross as she turns it down a little bit. The adult audience has become bored and restless, picking up on my discomfort. Somehow I know that the kids are running riot.
I am losing