Tuesday, August 11, 2009

och, aye!

Did I mention that we were leaving for Edinburgh at 3:30 a.m.? Did you miss that part? Yeah, well, it’s true. I have to hand it to the students, most of them were on steps and ready to go right at 3:30, which is a good thing since we were on a tight schedule. I tried to go to sleep last night at 10, but my body was not into it. I turned on some boring music, but that didn’t work. I turned on Liz Fuller and the Quiz Call show, but I just stayed awake guessing answers. So I didn’t get an awesome sleep. But I knew I could sleep on the bus, then sleep on the plane.

Our taxis dropped us off at the Victoria Coach Station, but unfortunately at the wrong terminal. So I sprinted up and down Victoria Street until I found the right bus and got fourteen people on it. The bus driver was grouchy and told me that we were making everyone late, but then he told every passenger who got on that. The bus ride to Luton airport was uneventful. I listened to Bon Iver and felt sweaty and disoriented.

Plane was fine – there were issues with baggage, but we solved them. And I had some Krispy Kremes. A smooth flight, a short flight, and flight attendants with Scottish accents!

Edinburgh felt a little drizzly when we landed, but then it always does. When you close your eyes and imagine Edinburgh, even if you've never been there, especially if you’ve never been there, doesn’t it seem sort of drizzly? It wasn’t a downpour by any stretch. Nothing like that day in Oxford. Eventually we checked in to the Smart City Hostels, which feels very crowded and very international this year. Everyone is talking something else. It’s like the Tower of Babel. I’m on the top floor this year, though, and this is my view:

We met the very kind people at Sweet Venues, where our show is performing. This year we are doing a play called Jumpers: The Golden Gates. It’s a show that explores suicide at the Golden Gate bridge through mask, movement, and monologue. You guessed it: it’s hilarious! Just kidding. But it’s not that tragic, either. Tony Gunn, a good friend from BYU, is directing. His wife Leslie wrote the script, and it’s really good. I finally saw the show in its entirely today at our tech rehearsal, and it’s the sort of thing I really like. Lots of neutral masks and stretchy fabric and storytelling through Radiohead and movement. Tony and Leslie have done a fantastic job. I think the students are proud of it, and we’re looking forward to having an audience tomorrow.

But therein lays the challenge. The typical audience for a show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is two people. There are hundreds of events happening at any given time – so you are competing for audience. Luckily I have a wonderful group of students who are willing to put on costumes and masks and do street performing to drum up an audience for tomorrow. It’s actually a lot of fun. They perform in the middle of the Royal Mile and hundreds of people stop and take pictures. Then Sarah and Emily, both RM’s and adept at the street contact, pummel them with fliers and invitations to come see the show. It was great. Solid exposure and advertisement for Jumpers. Here are some great pics of them in action:

After this everyone earned a break, so we took a walk around the castle. The weather was great, and, like Oxford, my students always seem to fall in love with Edinburgh. For me it’s a little rough, but I can appreciate that everything feels old and Hogwarts-y. It’s certainly beautiful when it’s lit up at night, and the bagpipes from the Military Tattoo carry down the hills.