Much of this week's online activity has been on Whatsonstage.com’s festival site, where bloggers have been discussing the pressures of packing, previews and pre-fringe jitters. WOS reviewer Michael Coveney used his last few moments of peace and quiet to anticipate his arrival in “the Athens of the North”, while Canadian rap artist Baba Brinkman discussed the pulling power of reputation during the Festival. Alison Goldie and Dugald Bruce-Lockhart had very different experiences during their preview performances and Daniel Clarkson began to ponder possible audience reactions to his production.
“The excitement is mounting, and so are the press releases, emails, messages and cries for help. Eight days to go, and eight days before I jump on the train, but I've already devised a rough schedule of 46 shows in my 12 days in the Athens of the North, Auld Reekie herself, and I look forward to, oh so many things... Such as, the first sighting of Jim Haynes, the first walk around the back of the Castle to the Traverse, the first concert in the Queen's Hall, the first afternoon in the Pleasance Courtyard, the first tang of yeasty whiff along Princes Street. It's very important to try and have one good square meal every other day, and to stay away from the Assembly Rooms star bar every other night.”
“At the beginning of the Fringe, reputation is one of the only assets shows have (apart from the latent quality of the production, which on its own is not enough to get people in). Reputation will bring punters in to at least check out Jim Jeffries and Robin Ince and the Pajama Men. But if they haven’t put the work in to capitalise on their reputations, then the story will be a Busta Rhymes-esque 'Legend of the Fall Off'. On the other hand, Edinburgh loves an underdog success story, the show with no reputation at the start of the festival, and a sell-out buzz by the end. Perhaps it’s the closest thing in the British Isles to the American Dream, the dream of prosperity as a direct result of effort and ability, rather than heredity.”
“It’s hard to describe the mixture of feelings that are currently dancing through my head. There’s the excitement at the prospect of the new show, but at the same time the worry and anxiety. Will we sell any tickets? Will everyone, or even anyone like it? … I mean, it’s all well and good giggling amongst yourselves in a rehearsal space when you bound out dressed as a beanstalk, but will anyone else find this entertaining? … There is also an overwhelming sense of pride at what you’ve managed to achieve; ask me if that’s still there in a few weeks from now and it could be a different story! But seeing those moments, which just a few weeks ago were nothing more than scribblings in the back of a notebook made while stuck in a delay on London Underground, come to life on a stage really does fill you with awe and feel so rewarding.”
“I stepped up. Mercifully, the spotlight was bright so the audience were hazy blurs. I got stuck into the show, trimming all the moves to fit into the space, very occasionally getting off the miniscule rostrum if I had to, and onto the carpeted floor, but concentrating on playing all the characters, keeping them crisp and distinct, and timing all the words for maximum comic or dramatic effect… Then I hopped down to position myself against the wall next to the 'stage'. I was having to re-block a scene I would normally do on the floor, but couldn't because of sight-lines... I threw myself into the mime, kicked out a leg, and ...whumph... the oilskin backdrop collapsed in a shiny ungainly black crumple, revealing the mantelpiece and TV set on the wall hidden behind it. Classy work.”
“Thank God for that! First preview of The Cage done – sold out house and a fantastic response. Now we can continue to tweak and refine and set our sights on the opening at the Queen Dome on August 4th (my birthday). My adrenaline levels have readjusted themselves and I can get back to reading Any Human Heart by William Boyd and enjoying not waking up every night at four am wondering if the play is going to work. It works. It works very well. Now I can be an actor again and let the author in me slip away to somewhere quieter... for a while at least.”
- Lydia Onyett
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