There, I’ve said it. Although, somehow, just putting it into tangible words doesn’t make me feel any less gutted about the fact that I’m not there. As a lover of ‘All Things Theatre’ (I have the housemate to thank for that glorious phrase), just the feeling of rubbing shoulders with fellow performance fiends is something I crave. To then be able to watch, critique, and on occasion perform alongside them is a (not-so) secret inner desire.
I caught the Edinburgh Fringe bug two years ago, the summer after my first year of uni, and, despite my degree and life ambitions being heavily theatre based, I haven’t managed to make it back. Yet.
That first summer I was up there purely as a spectator. A spectator with seriously limited funds, but with a wide-eyed ‘oh-my-gosh-I’ve-never-seen-so-many-creative-arty-minds-all-in-one-condensed-place-before’ attitude. I saw far too much comedy for my own personal liking, albeit not awful, and somehow managed to avoid all forms of serious/contemporary/experimental/undefined-genre theatre or performance. My preferred style. (Note: My degree has brainwashed me to a level where I can no longer simply write ‘theatre’, ‘drama’, or ‘play’ without following it with ‘or performance’. The same goes for ‘stage’, followed by ‘or space’. Gotta love the pretentious approach of the contemporary-theatre student, eh?)
Last year an alternative theatre-based activity (alongside a full-time job) prevented me from making the trek up to Scotland. Whilst spending several weeks helping to prepare 150 8-18 year olds in their production of Guys and Dolls was a fantastic experience (and has ensured that I will never work with school children ever), it wasn’t quite the same as sitting watching various housemates and friends perform in numerous shows and sketches at the Fringe.
This year my inner theatre-magnet was yet again foiled, this time by a fortnight escape from the country book-ended by the dreaded task of moving house. Again, whilst a whole array of my favourites are busy frolicking around in the land of the rain, and soaking in every aspect of the theatre (be it enjoyable or exhausting).
Next year I intend to be there with them. Or by myself if for some ungodly reason they all decide not to make the trek next year. I have to be there. In fact I give you all permission to throw things at me if I’m not.
Whilst I’m not there (and I’m regularly kicking myself for not just jumping on the next train up to Scotland), there are many a fantastic troupe (and many a fantastic friend) who are. So if you happen to be in Edinburgh, or on your way there for the final week, I implore you to check out the following:
Theatre. Sometimes physical, always pretty:
Witness Theatre’s ‘The Darkroom‘
Rhum and Clay’s ‘A Strange Wild Song‘
Comedy. Dark and Twisty, or Irish charm:
Casual Violence’s ‘A Kick In The Teeth‘
Foil, Arms and Hog’s ‘Late Night Sketch Comedy‘
Dance. Physical theatre. All male group:
Edge FWD’s ‘A Beautiful Hell’