Stage Manager Damian Robertson On A Festival Of Highs And Lows
Last year I pitched the theory that Charles Dickens' opening to "A Tale of Two Cities" was actually about Edinburgh Fringe:
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way."
Certainly the festival can be a very bipolar experience. It seems much easier to find people who've had either the best or worst time of their lives than someone who has had a mediocre month (only stalwart veterans can have an average time). Everyone seems to get a bout of depression at some point - usually about half way through - but there's highs too: e.g. when the good reviews appear.
I've been stage managing four shows: Potted Panto, Toby Hadoke's new stand-up show Now I Know My BBC, Barbershopera: Apocalypse No! and Sunday Defensive. Plus I've looked after the technical side for one to three night runs at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre of Blowers and Bly, Graffiti Classics, The World's Wife and Toby Hadoke's Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf. All of which, luckily, I've enjoyed. And over 27 days, a grand total of 98 performances. That's certainly enough to have kept me busy, although I can't help but wish I'd done a little more to make the century. Still, I am certainly ready for heading home and getting some rest before my autumn touring starts.
On the whole, I've had a positive experience this year, especially after having had a somewhat wretched time in 2009 when I swore I would never come back again... Broken promises. Will I be here next year? Probably.