Friday, 4 September 2009

Edinburgh Fringe Festival

The Edinburgh Festival started in 1947 as a post war initiative to reunite Europe through culture. A number of distinguished musicians were invited to perform in Edinburgh that summer. Some enterprising theatre companies (six Scottish and two English), thinking that there would be a good crowd, decided to turn up uninvited, hoping for an audience. They were not part of the festival, but hanging onto the edge of it, and the fringe was born. Now, although the Festival still happens every August, it is the Fringe which overshadows it, with 1,000 shows every day in the last three weeks of August. Every possible space which could be performed in from church halls and shop store rooms, to toilets (really!) cars and lifts are pressed into service. The whole city is buzzing with entertainment, with the Festival, the Fringe, the Tattoo, the Book Festival, Jazz Festival, the Mela and the Art Festival all happening at the same time. (The Film Festival couldn't stand the heat and is now in June!) If you want to find out more about it, click here It's fabulous!

This year our local drama group (coyly renamed WDG Productions) took part in the proceedings taking the wonderful drama, 'Our Country's Good' by Timberlake Wertenbaker. The play is about the first convicts in Australia, and is a funny, harrowing and heartwarming story of redemption through drama. Here we are in costume, ready to set off to Edinburgh. (Sorry, Jacob,you aren't in this picture - aged 15, people to see, parties to go to - but director Richard and producer Dawn, who took all these photos, were available instead!) I am on the right of the group, dressed as convict Meg Long (nicknamed Shitty Meg!)

We had a great time in Edinburgh, and here we are outside the entrance to our venue in our sponsored t-shirts. The red was a master-stroke, as it made it really easy to identify people in our group at any time in the day. (Other groups had gone for sophisticated black tops - very hard to see, especially after dark!) The venue (a church hall during the rest of the year) was run by a company which had several acting areas in four buildings. Our venue was 'The Space @Venue 45' and was just down an alleyway off the Royal Mile (the High Street) and thus very convenient for actors and audience. There were 23 people involved in the production aged from 15-70, (14 actors plus director, producer, stage manager and 2 technicians, then assorted spouses and friends who helped give out flyers and persuade people that they wanted to come to see our show, rather than any of the other 999 taking place on that day!)

Most of the Royal Mile is closed to traffic for the Festival, and is full of people trying to generate a bigger audience for their shows by giving out flyers, performing extracts from their shows, singing, dancing, posing, in fact doing anything to create a bit of interest. Since our show was full of unruly convicts, we decided to stage a cat fight.

Here we are squaring up to each other. We already have a bit of interest from the man on the left taking a photo! You can only just se me in this one - I'm taking on Hazel! This tactic certainly worked as a crowd-puller, and while I never thought I'd be seen fighting on the Royal Mile, I can recommend it as aerobic exercise! It really gets the heart pounding!
Here I am in costume posing with DH, the director of the show. It took a lot of hairspray to get my hair to stick out like that, I can tell you. Before we went on stage we had to use lots of black eyeshadow to make our faces, arms and feet look dirty. Lovely!

This is me nearly ready to go on stage, with special stuff on my teeth to add to the character. Mary was lucky, as she played an officer's wife and could look nice and clean!

Once the performance was over and we had cleaned up a bit, it was relaxation time, and time to see other shows. We were lucky enough to get tickets for the singers Fascinating Aida, the comedian Mark Watson, 'The Real Inspector Hound', 'A-Team the Musical', 'The Mikado', 'Lady Windermere's Fan' a masked play and lots of other stuff which was interesting and new.

There was also a lot of socialising (and drinking of alcohol!) This is us celebrity-spotting in the Pleasance Courtyard with Jacob finally making it into the shot - he's the rude one at the back!


Contented Caroline said...

Looks great - did anyone take a video?

Sew Create It - Jane said...

Sounds like quite a party! Glad to hear all went well and that you had a great time.

Shasta said...

That sounds like a great festival to go to. The street fight was a great idea!

Anonymous said...

now I know I've really made it - a mention in your blog...thhanks, very enjoyable reading. Becky's roses looks lovely by the way.

Lazy Gal Tonya said...

sounds wonderful!

black bear cabin said...

Looks like a blast!!! The cat fight on the street looks like the most fun! You guys look great :)