Daily Archives: May 27, 2014

EMERGEncy: Assessment of Risk

“I need to do a risk assessment for Reasons.” I announce during our weekly meeting.

I am announcing this, rather than just doing it, because I am a little bamboozled by the task.

A risk assessment for a show isn’t a particularly unusual request. Indeed I once exchanged approximately 74 emails, had three phone conversations, spent eight hours writing risk assessments and had a meeting with the Edinburgh Fire Brigade for an EdFringe show which, for approximately five seconds, had A FLAME in it. As it was, the fire was fine; it was a performer tripping over a (risk assessed) discarded prop that landed us in A&E.

But with Reasons – which, at its base state, consists of one man standing still, telling you a story with the use of some flashcards – the only notable risk is that Andy might give himself a papercut. If I am to start a precedent for risk assessing the possibility of paper cuts for members of WBN then I fear I shall never again have the time to actually be involved in making any theatre.

The meeting turns to what I might put on the risk assessment instead.

“That a small child might put one of the happiness cards up their nose?”

(People at risk: audience. Likelihood: remote. Severity: minor.)

“That Andy might keep in the use of the word ‘fuck’ when there is a child in the room?”

(People at risk: audience. Likelihood: possible. Severity: minor.)

“That…well, yes – the papercut thing.”

(People at risk: performer. Likelihood: possible. Severity: whilst not underselling a papercut, minor)

It is no good, neither Estelle nor Charlie can come up with any plausible risks either. We have made a show where the main risk is getting an audience to commit to having one man tell them a story without the use of any theatrical wizardry other than some flashcards and a drawing Andy did back in 2012, for thirty minutes.

“I’ll…write some words…” I concede. “Now, if this were Blueprint…”

We laugh the sort of laugh that only arises with the knowledge that at some point in the not too distant future someone will ask for a risk assessment for Blueprint and compiling it will make us all cry.

24 hours later I’m assembling the Blueprint props from where I had, with the kind of foresight that probably deserves some kind of chocolate related reward, packaged, separated and labelled post our Bike Shed residency. I realise, just after I’ve pushed the box back in, that I’m missing the stopwatch. No bother, I’ll just lean in and get it out –

My forehead collides with the metal underside of the table.

There’s the flash of embarrassment that I have just headbutted a table in an open plan office and that people might have seen me do this. This quickly subsides though; it hurts too much for me to manage embarrassment as well as pain.

I sit still waiting for everything to stop spinning.

And then, to no one in particular:

“Well, I didn’t risk assess this, did I?”