Only limited time to write now, but feel free to contact me direct to talk off list: Mikefule@aol.com.
If you don’t have a set piece freestyle routine of tricks set to music, then it’s too late to develop[ one for this event. Instead, take some ideas from the following.
I’ve been performing on a semi-improvised basis in front of crowds ranging from 2 or 3 people to several thousand over a period of several years. The uni has been only one small part of my performance. I also juggle 3 balls with virtually no ‘clever’ tricks, I walk a ladder like a pair of stilts, and I do one or two totally fake conjuring tricks.
The first and most important rule is that just because a trick is difficult, or took ages to learn, it does not mean that the audience will appreciate it. Simple example: anyone can juggle 3 bean bags after 1/2 hour’s learning. Juggling 5 balls is about a million times harder. Joe Public sees 5 balls and vaguely assumes it is a little bit harder than 3… about 2/3 harder. The skill level to applause ratio is subject to a savage law of diminishing returns unless you are performing to people who really understand what you’re doing.
Also, if you string all your tricks together one after the other, you probably have 2 minutes, if that. I can mount, ride forwards, idle, ride backwards, idle one footed each side, and hop. Wow! I could do all of that in 30 seconds. The important thing, therefore, is to perform… you are trying to entertain, not simply to ‘display’ or to impress.
If you can idle well, reverse a few strokes, and mount competently, you can get several minutes’ entertainment value out of simply riding in front of the crowd in a slightly wide-eyed manner, ‘almost’ losing control, stopping suddenly, reversing, and so on. Pick a friendly face in the front row of the audience, or a small group if the audience is scattered in an open area, and ride up to them, stop, wobble, idle, back off, wink, and wobble past them. Make eye contact, stare wide-eyed, wink, even stick your tongue out.
if you don’t have ‘the gift of the gab’ then don’t talk - just use exaggerated faces and body language.
Simple tricks like hopping or idling one foot: Don’t do the full ‘Ladies and genn’le men, before your very eyes…’ routine. be alittle conspiratorial. Catch someone’s eye, hold their attention with a raised index finger and raised eyebrows… now idle one footed and point triumphantly at the raised foot. the ask for applause by throwing up and out, and looking pleased with yourself.
And if they don’t applaud, shrug and ride off with downcast body language.
Similar idea with hopping.
Another simple one, especially after a UPD: the step over mount. Take a long time (5-10 seconds) to prepare. Plenty of eye contact but no talking. Do an exaggerated mount and step right over the uni.
Rule of 3: if you’re going to introduce this fake ineptitude into the performance (and it is by far the easiest option at short notice0 use the rule of three. Get it ‘wrong’ once, then get it ‘wrong’ again, to reinforce the impression, then get it right the 3rd time… OR get it wrong in a different way.
Once to set up; once to reinforce; once to surprise.
I 100% and whole heartedly agree with you about clown costumes. Only clowns should wear clown costumes, and then not in public. If it makes you feel more confident, go for extra smart. Bold or simple colours but not fussy patterns. Black T shirt and jeans is as good as anything else - and perhaps a hat or something to top it off. And if you’re nervous, what about shades? Reduces the eye contact, but adds something else.
Think of this objective: at the end of the event, the public should think, ‘Oh and that unicyclist was fun.’ Not: ‘I was impressed by that unicyclist’s technical proficiency.’
Good luck. :0)