Thursday, August 13, 2009

here's looking at edinburgh

Woke up to blue skies and seagulls screeching out of my window. This was encouraging, but I was also suspicious: Edinburgh is known for having four seasons in one day, and my suspicions were confirmed by a downpour around 11:30. The rest of the day was fantastic, and the afternoon was actually hot. If I lived in Edinburgh I would never know how to dress myself. You are either shivering or sweating. But at least you get to live in Edinburgh.

We did more street performing today, and it seems like we are getting more coverage. A few of the students were interviewed by the British AP Service, which is great. A lot of professional photographers took pictures of our street performance. We also had a podcast interview, which you can hear here. (The interview happens about halfway through, and you can hear me say "It's so good!" in falsetto at the end.) And another guy who ran a festival website stopped by for a live chat. So we're getting the word out - a necessity since we only do one more performance. I was a little more involved in the performance today. Putting my big mouth to use I stood on some granite posts and preached the gospel of Jumpers to the good people of Scotland. The students continued to stretch their fabric and spook people with the masks. We drummed up a lot of attention for the show. And it somewhat paid off with our audience of.....wait for it.....TEN people. You know it! We more than doubled our audience. Ha. So here's hoping that tomorrow we bust over the 20 person mark. That would actually fill half of our little theatre. Keep your fingers crossed!

After the show we walked down the mile to Holyrood Castle, the former home of Mary, Queen of Scots and her son, James VI. The current queen stays at Holyrood when she is in Edinburgh. It's a beautiful old castle, and we enjoyed the audio guides. We played "5,4,3,2,1 PLAY" so that we were all together in the audio guide, to some comical results. My favorite part of the tour - surprise, was the room where Lord Bothall murdered David Rizzio with 56 stabs in front of Queen Mary. Bothall was Mary's husband, and was positive she and Rizzio were having an affair, when, in fact, he was just her secretary and thus obligated to be around her a lot. So anyway, you can see where Bothall left the body and there are red blood marks on the floor which, inexplicably, can not be scrubbed know I love this stuff, right?

And then we sat in the old abbey ruins for some time. The light was perfect for taking pics and it was very quiet and serene. There was no audio guide, so we actually looked around on our own and soaked it all in.

At 5:30 I attended a performance of My Life With the Dogs. I have been looking forward to this production because it's had great reviews here at the festival. It did not disappoint. I thought it was so sweet and funny. Only an hour long. It's a true story about a 4 year old Russian boy with an alcoholic, abusive mother, who leaves home and lives on the streets for a year with three dogs. I thought it was interesting how it dealt with some really dark and disturbing subjects with a sweetness and innocence. The guy who played the 4 year old was probably in his 40's, but you forgot about that. He was incredibly committed and convincing, and reminded me of Hugh. And I loved the three actors who played the dogs. They loved sausage!

Tonight Ashley, Sara, Emily and I went on one of those infamous ghost tours. It was a riot. We met with the group on the Royal Mile and headed into New Town. We learned the following things:

1. The New Town bridge collapsed when it was first built, and hundreds of people died.
2. If you are attacked by a little old man wearing a red cap, yell a Bible verse or he'll eat your innards out.
3. Cannibalism and Vampirism are still an important part of Edinburgh

We learned other things as well, but I have to keep something for myself. Actually, the scariest parts were when we had to walk down some creepy old stairs and almost died, and when an old drunk man jumped out of some bushes and scared us, and I yelled "Jesus Wept!" (Bible verse) and then he got angry and started to swear at me. But we saw some beautiful shooting stars at the top of Calton Hill, and the night was beautiful. Here are some great pics:

This is a haunted tombstone we encountered. Can you see the angry face?

There is a Parthenon at the top of Calton Hill. Back in the 1700's they wanted Edinburgh to be a mini-Athens, but they ran out of money. So there is 1/5 of a Parthenon:

Our tour guide told us to take pictures in the cemetary and then look for orbs. They are little circles of light which indicate supernatural activity, and they show up in photographs. Did I mention that I love this stuff? I found two orbs in my pics! Here's one:
Can you see it? On the door? I promise there was not a circle there on that door in real life. So, basically IT'S A GHOST.

We ended the evening at the pub, because the tour included a free drink. We had our Pepsis, warmed up, and listened to some traditional Scottish music, mixed in with "Do-Re-Me."