Best of the Edinburgh Blogs - Final WeekDate: 2 September 2011
The 2011 Edinburgh Fringe Festival has come to an end for another year; here are the best of the Whatsonstage.com community blogs from the aftermath week...
"...Things I've learnt from this Edinburgh....
1. How to produce a show on the paid fringe. I hadn't done that before, now I have, so that's a good thing and I'm sure I've learnt some skills along the way although I can't currently remember what they are. We were sold out most days, which is really rare, so I must have done something right.
2. Flyering works. When we flyered lots, we were full up. When we didn't flyer lots, we weren't full up. Flyering lots in the morning helped lots as there was less competition but lots of potential audience looking to plan their day. Splitting up and flyering as individuals worked better than staying in a group, as it allowed more coverage. The flyering hot spots were the fringe box office queue, each entrance to the main section of the Royal Mile, and outside C Venues. Rather than being whacky or using stunts we found just having normal conversations with people worked best. In the future I'd pay even more attention to what's on the flyer, as it's the most important sales tool.
3. The audience is different from what most performers think it is. I learnt this when I came without a show last year and spent a couple of days walking around looking at people and eavesdropping on them planning shows. I think the Edinburgh Fringe, the press and many performers would like to think it's an audience of comedy savvy, cutting edge, experimental young theatre goers looking for a new language for theatre..."
"...The show was called Watch Me Fall by a company called Action Hero and was absolutely brilliant. With the exception of The Games (a very silly and very endearing clown show about Greek Theatre) it was probably the best thing I have seen all festival. It pulled off the difficult trick of being both charming and brutal at the same time. Two performers, one male and one female, exploring the concept of the daredevil and the fascination we have with people who put themselves in positions of danger. It probed the aura of glamour that surrounded stuntmen like Eddie Kidd and Evil Knievel, at one point brilliantly equating the kind of machismo that drove them to that which drives modern day empire-builders and right-wing politicians. It asked questions about the need we have for fame and adoration and the lengths which people will go to for affirmation of their identity and existence. Ultimately, it served as a poignant reminder of the fragility of human life. And it achieved all this using nothing more than a bicycle, a ramp, a bucket of ping-pong balls, a paddling pool and a lot of Coca-Cola. It was utterly mesmerising, very thought-provoking and, if you stopped to think about it for a moment, completely bonkers. It also felt absolutely well-suited to its environment - a student bar, decorated with illuminated pictures of half-dissected animal cadavers which, like the show itself, somehow managed to be both disturbing and beautiful..."
"Festival Highlights has had a great Fringe, and it’s fallen to me to sum up the month, and reflect on the highs and lows of it all. The lows have been minimal, but include the first day walking into our temporary home and office base, discovering a strange sticky greasy film over almost everything in the kitchen, peeling paintwork, and mysterious stains on various carpets. I thought I’d hit the triple jackpot, and then the bonus dropped – we had mice as well! The highs have been much greater. Two of our shows (both directed by Hannah Eidinow) won Fringe First Awards - the excitement of receiving the phone call on the Wednesday, all the cheers in the office, and then having to keep it a secret until the official announcement on the Friday, is an addictive feeling, and certainly something to aspire to again next year. One of our performers – Simon Merrells from Steven Berkoff’s Oedipus was also nominated for the Stage Best Actor award. He sadly lost out, but told me he gets a plaque anyway for the nomination and seemed pretty happy with that. Cabaret Whore sold over 100% of the official room capacity, thanks to adding extra seats – a great achievement. We’ve also had an enormous amount of four- and five-star reviews, and have subsequently used a rainforest’s worth of sticky labels to remind everyone about them."
"...New Town Bar stayed a special favourite. Every Sunday during the festival, Bob Downe and Scott Agnew host a SUNDAY FUN-DRAISER for Waverley Care. All sorts of shows partaking in the festival come and perform. I've seen, among others, Vikki Stone, Gemma Goggins, Kev Orkian, the boys from Briefs, Mary Lou Schriber, The Sundaes, Benny Boot and Margaret Cho. We've also been in fits of hysterics as my Publicity Manager aka my Grandma, got dragged onto the stage each weekend to promote Rachael's Cafe. Between acts we shuffled around the venue giving out our cookies and flyers and chatting with all and sundry. This is possibly the most enjoyable form of show marketing on the fringe: there is entertainment, snacks, alcohol and good conversation. Scott Agnew, one half of the hostmanship at New Town Bar events, also held his own chat show: the Scottish Breakfast Chat Show during the fringe. He invited me onto the show to chat about Rachael's Cafe and I was lucky enough to watch and meet the guest after me: SHLOMO! Part of what makes Edinburgh so exciting is the opportunity to be creating your own work and simultaneously meeting those you respect and admire..."
"With three days to go, it's getting more and more difficult to do everything I planned! Late night shows are looking less and less attractive as exhaustion sets in. But I am willing myself to fight through that, as I would recommend any Fringe-goer to do. A tip for any Fringe-goer, audience and actor alike: go and see as much as you can! Make use of the half-price stall, two-for ones and, of course, your passes (if you have one). Just because a show is free or cheap does definitely not mean it's bad! If you have a chance to socialize too, take it! Meeting and talking to different the members of different companies can teach you very much about the theatrical world. There's always a little more inspiration to be had and a few more connections to be made, and meeting people and seeing their shows is a fantastic way to achieve this. Whether you're here for a weekend or the whole month, don't turn down a flyer on principle, don't miss out on events and do, by all means, try to squeeze in as much as you can! Leaving the Fringe wishing you had seen that one show or talked to that one actor sounds very depressing, especially as it will be completely different next year!"
"...I was in charge of the general welfare of the performers (including arranging comps etc) which was made easy as they were absolutely lovely, friendly and approachable. Moving constantly from place to place, the rain was constant. The sun came out for roughly 8 minutes. Then it rained again. The Festival never ceases to amaze me. The enthusiasm at the start of the Fringe is overwhelming. The second week people are still excited but slightly fatigued. The third week they are strangely quiet. Either way it’s always slightly amusing watching a guy dressed as a clown from head to toe, devoid of any smiles, standing in the pouring rain holding a limp flyer without a hint of irony. To be part of Seabright Productions has been an amazing experience, and working alongside some fantastic shows and people has been a genuine pleasure. I love the spontaneity of the day, as it keeps me on my toes. It’s been hard work but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. This is my fourth Edinburgh Fringe but easily the best."