So the show is up, and bedded in.
I’m no longer in the venue – We have an amazing Company Stage Manager, a superb Producer, the venue (the Igloo on the Green at the Pleasance) is run and staffed by a great team, the cast are knocking it into the long grass, and today was all about finishing up and letting the show run without me.
Meetings this morning were about marketing strategy, over cornflakes and tea while the cast were out selling tickets on the Royal Mile. We checked our current sales against our projected budgets. We ironed out what needed to be done between my leaving tomorrow and my coming back briefly next week to deliver a session on Open Book Theatre Management at Fringe Central on Monday 12th. Then, after the show, I went flyering with the cast.
After that we went out, and we celebrated the graduation of one of our cast from a top line drama school with a meal and some drinks (she got this gig before she officially graduated). Then we went to see two comedians. One of them you’ll know, if you listen to Radio 4 – an incredibly talented man, playing a decent sized venue which was practically full on the first Sunday night of the Fringe proper (the first Sunday after previews – a quiet night if you’re not a name) – and saw a thoroughly incredible show. The other chap we saw was a newcomer, working in a tiny sweatbox of a venue, still trying out his material and struggling with technical issues, with his set list still vaguely visible – written on the back of his hand with biro – which was slowly running and fading with the dripping sweat. The former is a polished performer with a lot of exposure. The latter less experienced, finding his feet as so many have and working towards what will hopefully be a successful career on the circuit. He worked the material through, and I hope very much he sticks with it – he had a very small crowd (there were about a dozen in the audience) – but he didn’t let his head drop. Good for him.
Then we went over to Brookes Bar in the Pleasance Dome (exclusive access Pleasance passes only – makes us all feel very valued and important – plus you might get to stand beside someone famous at the bar…)
At this point our Producer and CSM reminded me that I had to write my blog.
There’s a pool table in Brookes, so we decided that I’d write my blog when Ali (CSM) and Kelly (Producer) could get me off the pool table. I’m not terrible at pool, but I’m not bad. I held my own for five games before they beat me, and so I’m now sat on the balcony of Brookes, writing this blog after a thoroughly wonderful day.
And I find myself reflecting. I first came to the Festival seven years ago as an actor, and have done a few since as a director. The Edinburgh Festival is an incredible mix. New acts, acts you know, things from completely left field, students with aspirations working their bottoms off to get a show on, and big names. With everything in between that you could possibly imagine, and then some things that you could never possibly dream of.
High quality. Low quality. People so in love with their work that they’ll go for it whether they’re playing to four hundred people or two men and a dog (and I’ve played to an audience of two in Edinburgh. It’s a tough gig…)
There’s nothing like The Edinburgh Festival. For some, it’s about making money. For some, it’s about having a go at things. For some, well, it’s just what they do. Where I fit into this I have no idea.
All I know is that tonight, after handing over the show to people I’ve grown to trust and respect, and having seen other people’s work without having to worry about my own during a night on the town, I met the Edinburgh Festival properly again. The Edinburgh Festival that I love, in the company of people that I’ve grown to care about very much indeed.
And we talked about some old times, and we drank ourselves some beers.
Still crazy, after all these years.