#3 Seeing stars

IMG_3099Day 3 of the blog but it is Day 5 maybe 6. But then are we counting this as since we arrived or shows? So we’ve done 4 shows and had our first night off though it wasn’t really a day off because we ended up doing Pick of The Fringe. So it’s Wednesday or is it Thursday? When did we get here? How many days have we been here, how many shows left to go?

Let’s just call it #3: Seeing Stars

While we’re lost in the confusion let’s take a moment to talk about this – extreme tiredness. Edinburgh is about extreme tiredness whichever way you view it – as participant, venue staff, audience. Reviewers too – how do they do it, seriously any reviewers want to explain to me how you go from show to show and find time to even think about each show let alone review it – I am genuinely interested.

Basically it is a very fast moving rollercoaster – time is flying by, a show each night, the endless searching of social media to find comments and chatter to retweet and post. The highs of a 4* star review and the lows of technical stresses.  Walking into the city from the flat and back again and into the city and back again. All of this with not enough sleep. My bedroom has white curtains so basically I can’t sleep until is dark and I am awake as soon as it gets light and also my brain is refusing to switch off and is endlessly churning through a to-do list.

I still haven’t seen any theatre. Well that isn’t strictly speaking true, I went to a show accidentally with Francois on the first night here because he was going to see it and I thought – why not? I then also went to see Diary of a Madmen, which is a fellow welsh company. Diary of a Madman is gobsmackingly good. Mesmerising performance from Robert Bowman and beautiful writing which transcends it’s age and feels incredibly contemporary. Also have to say how much I loved the set.  Very clever design so simple and yet intricate.

I also saw Blam last night which was a company outing before Angharad let Edinburgh. I loved Blam though I feel I really shouldn’t, it was silly, violent, incoherent, structurally questionable and devoid of narrative but I really loved it and think more people should make shows like that – big, bold, fun. It had moments of genius and real beauty and intelligence which were usually pushed to one side for the next disconnected set piece. Ever since Spaced I have found there is lots of pleasure from playing slow motion gun fights/making silly robot noises and re-enacting movie action sequences so yes I loved Blam.

But today for the first time I sat down and thought about booking tickets which I have now done. It is interesting as a participant to sit and think – what do I want to see? Beyond the companies you know and want to support and the companies you would like to make contact with – what shows do I want to see? It really makes you reflect on your own marketing strategy to think about it. I really don’t know how audiences decide and I can understand be so reliant on reviews and what people are saying.

Anyway so what has been happening since I last sat down and wrote a blog, however many days ago it was when we had our first night.

Mainly I am really pleased to say that it has been nothing but incredibly positive, in fact it is all a little bit surreal.

We’ve had two sell out performances, we were asked to appear in Pick of The Fringe, we have had lots of reviewers in each night, we’ve been filmed by S4C Heno, we have lots of venues and partners requesting tickets interested in future touring and the work of the company, we’ve been asked to do a radio interview.

Two days ago I wrote a headline for a press release – Wales company storms Edinburgh – it was largely a joke that I planned to replace once I could think of a better one but I find myself thinking today that it is quite acceptable really.

I spend a lot of time fighting back tears – good tears. When someone says on twitter, “To kill a machine was by far one of the most powerful and moving pieces of theatre I have ever seen. Absolutely incredible! ” @Julia_Birdx,  it’s hard not to cry at such a wonderful comment.

Each night I stay outside to ensure that everything runs smoothly front-of-house which means I am standing there as the audience walks out – I get to see the people with tear stained eyes, the people who are shell-shocked by it and then I get to hear the audience raving about how much they loved it – a definite highlight of my time in Edinburgh.

At some point in the next few weeks I’ll write about the positives and negatives of a company sharing a flat but this morning was definitely a positive. Buying an Edinburgh Evening news on the off chance we’d made it in a paper review but not really expecting it and opening it to find this “To Kill a Machine arguably one of the most finely crafted hours of theatre you’ll find on the Fringe”.  To be able to share with everyone together the amazing review which also singles out each of them in turn was an experience that will stay as a highlight for a long time.