I have been making up stories for my daughter most bedtimes recently and it’s a wonderful daddy/daughter time as she pretty much always enjoys them, even though I am flying by the seat of my pants and making them up as I go along.
But you can never get complacent and the audience is king and tonight it went a bit wrong. She likes me doing stories about her being the driver of a magic bus that can change size and go anywhere (it may owe something to the cartoon, “The Magic School Bus”) in which her baby brother tries to do crimes, but gets thwarted. But new stories emerge from the characters we create within these stories so sometimes I have to do stories about Pony, the magic unicorn who can grant three wishes a story and sometimes about the Hummbummm or other creatures we have created together. And recently she became very taken with a storyline where she had dolls houses of every house in the village and tiny versions of the people from our village lived in them and big-sized Phoebe is their mayor/god.
It’s normal to want stories like that when you’re 4 right?
But I don’t really like this series. It’s hard to think of anything to do with it that isn’t a bit weird. But I gave it a go tonight and took a chance by saying that in the story Phoebe stomped on her friend Matthew (or Mattherew as she called him)’s house. I was setting up some jeopardy and planning that Phoebe in the story would rescue the situation (when you have a magic unicorn then anything is possible). Although she’d been rapt up to now, real Phoebe was as furious as a Game of Thrones fan about this out of character plot development. She threw her head back and started crying and no matter how much I said I was joking or that I took it back or that it would be sorted out in the story she continued to scream her disapproval.
It was one of the worst gigs I’ve ever had and eventually I had to be taken off stage/the bed and let Catie take over to restore some kind of equilibrium. Even after months of hit stories my daughter was not going to put up with one that she doesn’t like and I am not sure things will ever be the same again (indeed the next morning, a few minutes after she woke up she looked at me and said “You made me stomp on Mattherew’s house”).
Controversial plot twists are not always a good thing and an audience is unpredictable. I may have lost one of the few writing jobs that I was hanging on to here.
A lovely RHLSTP with Matt Forde is available on audio
Also good news one of the guests for the Glasgow RHLSTP on 24th November will be Limmy. It’s a huge theatre, but probably worth booking ahead for that one
. I am pretty sure that with a home crowd behind him I will end up swinging from the theatre rafters.