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August 27, 2012 by hattersleysmith

So it actually looks as though I’ve hidden in a cave for three and a half years and been subsequently thwacked in the eyes by two frying pans…

Turns out that four weeks at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe crammed with some of the most inspiring, hilarious, wacky, tacky, breath-taking and goddamn awful theatre I’ve experienced in my life, hazelnut latte after hazelnut latte, CabVol, Spank (you love iiiit! Though not so much when one of the comedians got naked and we couldn’t even see it!), crazy crazy people and the frantic shinanigans involved in producing two shows has clearly taken it’s pound of flesh (or not as the case may be, turns out all that walking didn’t quite manage to burn off all those power-through KitKat Chunkys).

I need sleep.

Yet having finally returned to the snuggled clutches of my warm and not-disintegrating bed in Yorkshire I am already oddly restless.  The buzz of the Mile, the late sozzled nights of chatter, the mantraic flyering shpeil, the glowing satisfaction of a full house, the thousands of shows within twenty minutes belong to a different planet to the early-morning bleats from the sheep across the lane.

The buzz of the Mile

Although maybe that’s why the Fringe is such a special, unique and detached experience, outside of reality, a huge performance of performances which, come September, we can leave just before, or just after, it all gets too much.

The challenge of putting on a show in Edinburgh has been one of my ambitions since acting in Peculius’ Hood in EFF 2011 so, ever up for pushing myself through limits, I decided to take up two; Kronos Productions’ Salome (Oscar Wilde) and NADSAT Productions’s We Got Rhythm (Nora Ratcliffe), both completely different, one a controversial Victorian classic, the other a modern half hour political satire.  Since March my life has been a blur of budgeting, designing publicity strategies, twittering, securing sponsorship, tea-staining costumes, writing press-releases, sourcing and making props and set, photoshoots, printing, booking accomodation, venues, techies, rehearsal spaces (apologies to all my friends and family)… so what a relief to finally have two shows ready to release to the public.  Phew!

Over the last month I learned some invaluable lessons…

1) Mystery works.
2) Sex sells (Berlin Cabaret‘s corsets always were going to draw the hoardes of middle-aged men clutching SLRs…).
3) Word of mouth is the best form of publicity for a production.
4) You can only effectively publicise your show if you know the show you’re publicising inside out.
5) It’s good to work with a whole load of different people and to share ideas and strategies.
6) I’m a top spin doctor.
7) If the leader stays positive and energetic, the cast will follow suit.
8) People enjoy and admire enthusiasm and passion.
9) Novelty makes people stop and think, even if it’s rubbish novelty (e.g. lying down covered in flyers to get some shut-eye on the mile!).
10) There are not enough weird people in the world, but weirdness makes it go round.

Nothing beat the thrill of Salome‘s sellout and the experience of working and living with so many talented actors and directors.  WE’VE HAD SO MUCH FUN!

What a blast, and I’ve seen some incredible shows which have really opened my eyes to so many creative opportunities…

Here are my top ten…

1) The Trench: a spectacular and moving vision of life in the trenches in WWI and the hallucinations of the dying
2) Boris and Sergey’s Vaudevillian Adventure: a double-act of crude and brash puppets
3) Leo: an incredible optical illusion splitting the stage into a screen and a reality of inverted acrobatics
4) Translunar Paradise: the most heart-breaking piece about coming to terms with the death of one’s other half using masks and choreography.
5) The Boy James: an immersive piece exploring the loss of innocence
6) The Economist: a devised episodic piece around the life of Andrew Breivik and the Norway shootings
7) The Boy with Tape on his Face: HILARIOUS
8) Out of the Blue: WOWZER acoustic singers from Oxford Uni
9) (remor): 11 minutes of choreography about separation and love in a cell
10) Clockwork Orange: returning from 2011 with energetic choreography and homoerotic violence, just amazing.

However mind-body-soul shattering a month of not-sleeping, sprinting across Cowgate, living off ham-sandwiches and GoBars & draining my bank balance has been, the Fringe has left me very much awake, afizz with ideas, in desperate need of new notebooks to stuff with sketches and concepts for puppet shows (watch this space for Guido and Flo), experiental installations, immersive physical theatre et al…

Me on the Mile

Don’t make a speech, put on a show.
– Paul Arden

When I arrived home, never-before-so-grateful-for-carpet-fluffy-towels-and-raspberries, I promised myself I’d take a few days off to recover, but now, having failed to lie-in, I’m already suffering withdrawals and am desperate to get cracking on the next creative endeavour…

Oh and welcome to my new blog.

all photographs copyright of Quin Murray


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