September 8, 2009
As the last week of the festival approached, conversations with new friends and acquaintances changed from the “how’s the show? good reviews? best thing you’ve seen?” chat to the “so what’ve you got planned for afterwards? chat”. What became clear to me after a few days of existential “who am I, what am I, what is my purpose in life?” questions was that I wasn’t alone. Literally thousands of people are approaching the end of August with no idea what they’ll be doing afterwards. And its ok.
This is the first time in my adult life that I’ve not been in full time employment and have not had the next job lined up. To have nothing concrete to go to is simultaneously terrifying and exciting. I have absolute freedom to do entirely as I please. I just need to earn enough to feed myself. I keep reminding myself of the Bob Dylan lyrics: “when you have nothing, you have nothing to lose”. And when I listen to them, I know deep down that something good, nay amazing, will turn up.
September 8, 2009
I am now sat typing this, my final blog, in disbelief that the festival is over. It feels as if it raced past, but also that I was there for an eternity. And what an experience! My first Edinburgh. A baptism of fire. I loved it.
On our last night, those of us who were left went for a meal at a little tapas bar not far from the Assembly Rooms. Delicious food, real wine surrounded by lovely people, I couldn’t have asked for a better ending. As you do, we talked about the highlights of the festival, and as people recounted incidents that had stood out for them, I realised just how much we had experienced together. You can jam a lot into a month, especially in Edinburgh when you’re average sleep time reduces to about 5 hours a night!
Being told “The Origin of Species” had sold out its first show on day 4
Grinning all through the Soweto Gospel Choir
The waterfight with my director at 1am
Seeing Camille O Sullivan and crying all through it
Discovering I do enjoy stand-up comedy after all – I’d just never seen good stuff before
Meeting a million people with a similar outlook on life
Getting 5 star reviews for all 4 of our shows
Hanging out with my company at Brookes bar
Saying goodbye to Edinburgh knowing that it had been a success
Was it madness agreeing to produce 4 shows as my first Edinburgh venture? Yep
Am I glad I did it? Oh yes
Would I do it again? Hell yeah!
August 29, 2009
3 weeks down and counting… we’re nearly at the end. Its been going surprisingly well, apart from a few illnesses, one major fight (soon resolved) and a company running on adrenalin I think we’re in pretty good shape.
Last night there was an explosion of hilarity in which the director and producer transferred all the stresses and strains of running 4 productions into a battle of water … in the flat. Not a mature way to let off steam, but it sure as hell was a laugh. I’ve not giggled so much all festival!
3 and a half more full days. Where has the time gone?
August 26, 2009
Reviews are an interesting one. We seem to pin so much on them. We validate ourselves by the number of stars we’re awarded. But isn’t it crazy? To place such onus on just one man’s opinion on any one given day? It could be someone sent to see a show in a genre they have no time for, they might already have seen 4 shows that day. Your show might follow a particularly exceptional show, in which case what is a good production will never seem as good as the one they’ve just seen.
I know critics are professional and they shouldn’t let little things like this affect them, but they’re also human and not infallible. Reviews are useful, yes, as a sales tool and for attracting attention to a show. And they are good as a morale boost – everyone likes to walk past one of their posters adorned with stars. But the bad ones are just a nightmare! Read more
August 23, 2009
We found out yesterday that our actress for our play “Almost 10″, Caroline Horton, has been nominated as Best Solo Performer in The Stage Awards. Wow! What amazing news! It’s wonderful seeing how happy its made her. And how much confidence it’s given her. I watched the play today for the first time in a week, and she has gone from strength to strength. She is just the most convincing 9 year old. Read more
August 22, 2009
One of my very favorite things about my Edinburgh experience is the people I’ve met. You find all sorts at the festival: directors, actors, journalists, promoters, punters… all here for different reasons and all ready to share stories. I like nothing more than hearing what brings a person to the Fringe. And because it’s the kind of place it is, people are much more open with their tales than normal. Read more
August 20, 2009
I just walked out of a show where the man behind me said “well, that was, well, um, the seats were comfy”. I couldn’t have agreed more. The granny 2 rows before him, however, had just come out saying “wasn’t that wonderful Marjorie”. So I suppose its a matter of taste. Even so, the show I saw wasn’t great. There was some great dancing, and some great music, but as a whole, it felt like an advert for a Sandal’s holiday in the sun. Read more
August 17, 2009
Bad plays. Never a good experience. Bad plays when you know someone involved. Even worse. Fortunately, it’s not happened to me here yet. Well, the bad plays have; although I do try to think of them as ‘plays not to my taste’ rather than ‘bad plays’. After all, its just my opinion, plenty of people might get enjoyment out of them. Of the 4 plays I’ve seen (I know 4! I’ll find more time soon I’m sure) 1 has blown my socks off, 2 have been average university company efforts and 1 was so ‘not to my taste’ that I left after 10 minutes.
Walking out of a play, now I find that quite an extreme reaction, and normally I would feel so bad about hurting the actors feelings by leaving, or putting them off, that I would sit there and suffer through it. Fortunately, this play had music blaring during the scene changes and I was sat in the seat nearest the door. So I made my escape. Read more
August 14, 2009
I went to my first Free Fringe event yesterday – Earth Calling Johnny Acecraft. It rocked! It had me giggling all the way through it: beautifully silly, poetic and quite absurd. Well worth a trip to Rowan Caves (just off Cowgate) at 6pm if you have the chance.
It got me thinking about the Free Fringe. I flicked through the brochure and caught myself thinking – “Free Fringe, must just be the dross that no other theatre would take”. Then I thought about what I’d just thought, and realised how judgemental I’d just been and felt bad. Then I read PBH’s blurb at the beginning of the Free Fringe brochure and what he says makes sense. He offers a platform for performers to show their work without the massive financial risk that is involved when working at a venue. It makes sense. And, it’s an admirable venture. But why did I react in such a way when I saw it was free? The free-ness devalued it in my mind. Read more
August 13, 2009
After starting the day on a massive high yesterday morning after my amazing day off, the rest of the day turned out to be what I’m going to call a hangover day. From massive high to massive low. What a hard thing to come from a week of incredible sales and great audiences to the day after a day of no publicity and what appeared to be one of the quietest days in the festival. It hurt.
And for some reason, I took it really personally. As a producer, I shouldn’t do that really, should I? I should be hard-hearted and thick-skinned and not care at all, just see it as another day amongst many – a trough as they call it in corporate speak. But that just ain’t me. Let’s just hope people decide to go to the theatre today. Read more