Guest Blog at the Edinburgh Fringe 2022: Eleonora Saravalle share’s her gritty flyering wisdom

We are delighted to welcome Eleonora Saravalle as our guest blogger who brings her new piece, Dried Apricots to the fringe.

I am reporting from Edinburgh, where I’ve been giving out flyers to attract audiences to my solo show. It’s my first time and I’m learning fast and spotting some patterns. 

The Scam: People in this category give me a smirk that seems to say, “Nice try, lady, but I’m not falling for whatever you’re selling.” One man approaches and nods at my flyers. With a slight sneer he says, “How does it work, you get paid for every flyer you give out? By the hour?” I say no. It’s a solo production; I don’t pay myself to flyer. Then he says, accusingly “So you make money off of people when they buy tickets?” He’s so confident in his indignation on the poor public’s behalf that I get flustered and resort to a smile. But inside I’m thinking, “Am I scamming people? Or is this just how performers make a living?”  

The Pre-emptive No: I make eye-contact, my muscles twitch in preparation to hand out a flyer. But they forestall me—“No, thank you.” Once, I wasn’t even looking at a man, when he forcefully said no and put out his hand to hold it over my flyers. I’m a woman, I’ve got it. “‘No’ means ‘no’”.

The Couple Wedge: It’s summer, people are in love. A heteronormative couple approaches. The man smiles at me and takes a flyer while their partner shakes her head “no” at me. Once they’ve passed me, I can’t see the faces, but I feel the tension building. I imagine it bubbling over at dinner later. “Oh, spare me, Jeffrey, I saw how you took that flyer from that girl.” “Claudia, I was just being nice.” “Oh, is that what you call it, ‘being nice’? I thought it was your compulsion to flirt with every female that crosses your path, including my sister. My mistake.” 

The Friend Wedge: An off-shoot of the previous category. Two friends walk by, one in front of me, one behind me. I hold a flyer out to the one in front, who takes it with a smile. The other one says “no.” As soon as they pass me, they join up again. The nay-sayer rips the flyer from her friend’s hand and crumples it. Gonna overthink that one for a few weeks…

The Potential Kidnapping: A man takes the flyer, and asks me to confirm that this address is around the corner. I say yes. He detects an accent and follows up with, “You’re from the US, right?” Not, “Oh, are you from America?” or “Is that an American accent I hear?” I respond with a nod to curtail sharing any more personal details. This might be the last article I ever write…  

The Children: They hold up their hands expectantly as they pass by. I hesitate. My show is suggested for audiences 18 and older. I glance at my flyer to double-check there’s nothing explicit on it. I place one in the child’s outstretched hand and hope the parents never look up the synopsis. 

The Family Meltdown: This one didn’t even involve flyers. I was stuck between a wall and a family whose child was in mid-afternoon meltdown and holding ice-cream. I got pulled into the family circle. They made no effort to relocate the tantrum-management away from me. Maybe my next play? 

The In-Motion-Hype-Therapists: My favorite. They walk by and meet my eyes with the earnestness of every dog I’ve cried around. In the five seconds it takes them to pass me they’re too nice to even utter the word ‘no,’ but rather shake their head and follow it up with at least five of the following: “You’re great, it’s not you, it’s me”. “I’m busy, but you’re lovely”. “Keep trying!” “Someone else will take your flyer, I just know it”. “Good luck with the run! Five stars, I’m sure!” “I’m so sorry, be resilient”. “You’re amazing, there’s that smile!”, “I apologize, truly!” They let me wrap up my day of flyering in a good mood. 

And then there are The Flyerer’s Mistakes: Someone said “no” and I squashed the “No worries, thank you,” into a “No, thank you.” I hope he didn’t mind me rejecting his rejection. When I stumble over my words, do they think, “If she can’t string two words together, how is she going to do a 55-minute show?” Sometimes I hesitate too long after eye-contact and don’t hand out a flyer. Do they think I was struck silent by love at first sight? Or when, recovering from a string of rejections, I just stand with flyers in hand and don’t give them out, are they hurt? “What, I’m not good enough for her flyers?!” Sometimes they hold out their hands, as if I’d been playing a game and they fell for it, like I’m some Machiavellian flyerer. Hardly. I’m just tired and hungry.

If you want to see the show that earned me all this experience flyering (and hear more of this type of humor), come see Dried Apricots. This new solo show follows Young Woman in the three days leading up to the release of her first novel, a raunchy romance, and how even her jokes about Freud, pap schmears, and the link between sex and labor unions can’t keep the desperation of her loveless and unaccomplished life at bay. Playing at Greenside Infirmary Street, Ivy Studio at 20:45 until August 20th, and at 21:55 August 22nd-27th

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