Peter Michael Marino talks about bringing his improvised comedy show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Name: Peter Michael Marino
Name of Edinburgh show: Show Up, Kids!
Venue: The Counting House Lounge
Performance time: Noon
Show length: 55 minutes
Ticket price: Free

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
Ahhhh…I’m one of those people who wears many hats. I’m a writer, performer, producer, director and teacher. I’m a NYC native but I try to spend as much time as I can in other places. I worked in London for about two years on the doomed “Desperately Seeking Susan” musical that I wrote, and after that I toured fringe fests around with world with my show about that show, “Desperately Seeking the Exit.”

Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
“Show Up, Kids!” is a semi-improvised, semi-sung, totally unpredictable solo comedy that’s all about the kids in the audience. In addition to the story content, they also control the set, props and music. It’s a “junior” version of my adult show “Show Up” which has been playing all over the US (and at the 2017 EdFringe) for the past year. Every show is different, but at its heart, the show is all about doing things that scare us. Like, me making up a new show every day for a month. What?!

How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
The show has actually been in development for over a year since I debuted the grown-up version. I hatched this kids’ show idea back in December and it just seemed like a natural progression. It’s relevant to kids and their guardians today because we live in a world where so much is absorbed online (like this interview) and to get folks out of the house, they need to be an integral part of the entertainment. Unless of course you’ve got a big West End musical…then they just show up and eat their dinner during the show.

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Plan ahead and leave room for last minute things. That’s for audiences and performers. I mean, you do so much prep for the festival a year in advance. But that just preps you for what’s leading up to the festival. Once you get there, you can easily get overwhelmed. I already am. Breathe. Hydrate. Surprise yourself.

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
A dog jumped up on the stage right in front of me during a “Henry V” speech in a Shakespeare in the Park show. Then the guy playing Hank sliced my forehead open with his sword during a fight sequence. I don’t know which one was funnier or more embarrassing.

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
Oh. That’s a tough one. I’m always inspired by performers and producers who take big chances and think outside the box. Like, when the audience is truly on the edge of their seats – like they’re on a ride. I also find reviewers to be inspiration. I try to read as many reviews as I can, especially during the fringe. The reviewers who give “book reports” don’t inspire me; but the ones who see and feel the deeper meaning in shows are my favourites. And that applies to comedy as well as drama.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I do a wee bit of stretching and yoga moves (which I’m sure are laughably imperfect) and I since I’m almost always terrified or exhausted, I always tell myself, “It’s an hour-long show. You can do this.” Not that I’m just getting through it, but I truly want each show to be the best one and the one that most connects with the audience. I have to be open and ready.

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
Lucy Hopkins, Sid Singh, Dandy Darkly, The Miss Behave Gameshow, The Singing Psychic, Neal Portenza, Bugle Boys, Austentatious, and whatever strikes my fancy in the moment.

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
Quite simply, because it’s all about them … both the kids show and the grown-up version. I don’t believe any other show at the Fringe is literally about the audience. But, don’t quote me on that.

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