Thursday, August 14, 2008

edinburgh, last day

Our last day. Not just in Scotland, but on this little adventure. Mixed feelings. I’m so excited to see Lisa and my kids, excited to sleep in my own bed, excited to have a decent shower. But I’ll miss old, interesting cities without strip malls and with good public transportation. Next summer, though.

Our second performance of Snuffbox went well. We had a slightly larger crowd, and many of them came from the fliers we had passed out. One woman came to both shows, and claims to be writing us a glowing review on the “Best of the Fest” website. Now I wish we were doing more performances. The show went smoothly and Alex’s moustache did not fall off. Afterwards we took production photos and did little dances while we struck the set. (If you don’t know what it means to “strike,” talk to Corky St. Clair or Ron Albertson for details.)

The rest of the day was free. Free to enjoy Scotland. Free to be…with one million other tourists. The streets were packed, but there was a lot of energy. Some Scientologists invited me in to their church for a “free personality test” but I told them I didn’t have one.

Alex, Jacob, and I hustled to the Pleasance Venues to get tickets for Steven Berkoff’s much acclaimed stage version of On the Waterfront. If you haven’t seen that movie, it’s the role that defined Marlon Brando. If you see this play, it’s basically the same thing, with an English guy trying to do a great Brando impression. Steven Berkoff is known for his heightened physical theatre, and I can see why. We loved the staging, but disliked the acting. Meaning – the pictures were incredible, the movement was fantastic, the lighting and set ideas were really creative and inspired. But the lead actress was so worried with her American accent that she shouted all of her lines like Lucy Ricardo. The Preacher wasn’t much better; lots of yelling. I think the story is really great, I guess I would prefer to see Americans pull it off. It’s a very American piece. Go to it, Steppenwolf!

>Afterwards we met up with Joe and we did some last minute shopping in the New Town. The New Town is so named because it was built in the late 1700’s, as opposed to the Old Town, which was built like 1,000 years ago. We stopped at that infamous money-sucker, H&M, and some purchases were made. Do you enjoy my passive tense? Walking was done, Haggis was had, purchases were made. We wandered through Princes Park, around the Castle walls, and over into the Grassmarket. Then we hiked back up to the Royal Mile, making the obligatory, but thankfully brief, stop at the Tartan Woolen Mills. I bought my kids a giant sack of candy.

Tonight, to cap the trip off, we went to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. If I were less lazy, I would look up why they call it a Tattoo. But basically it’s a giant Stadium of Fire, except no Vegas acts or 1,000 pre-teen girls doing synchronized dances with frizzy hair (holla, Starz!) We were very excited about this, and our extra ticket went to Carolyn Stone, who came along. First you line up with scores of people, and then they march you up the Royal Mile, where you eventually sit in a three-sided stadium at the entrance of the castle. Enjoy these candid shots of a few of us marching up the Mile:

The view is stunning. The castle is covered with burning torches, and lit with all sorts of colors throughout the night. There are marching bands, marching bands, and more marching bands, with the occasional Singapore Dragon and some skiers on wheels holding red flares. Incidentally, one of those skiers crashed pretty hard. But he was a good sport about it, it looked like. Also, some very rhythmic marching girls did a neat trick where they filed into a line walking backwards, but two of them collided. So it kept things exciting! At one point a guy played a big romantic number on the classical guitar and it was a little Yanni, and I laughed a little, a little, and this man in front of me got mad and told me he was enjoying it and to “stop snickerin.” Oh, angry Scots. Good times. Anyway, I don’t know what his deal was. He recorded THE ENTIRE TATTOO on his camera. So I guess he’s going to go home and watch a bunch of marching bands over and over? Despite this, I loved the Tattoo. It was a beautiful night, and a perfect way to cap our trip.

Hostel was entered, packing was done, and sleep was attempted.