Thursday, August 11, 2011

by the sea

Well, they weren't kidding about that storm. It blew in sometime last night and I could hear rain pummelling off of the roof of the church outside my window. It's one of those storms that settles in and sits, and the sky is just a giant pale blank. It's Edinburgh, though, and you have to expect that. It just means you need an umbrella and a plucky attitude. I've got an umbrella! It also means that nobody's going to the theatre, especially at 10:30 am, so our numbers were fewer today for the show. But still we had an audience - so that's great. Nice of them to brave the tempest.

I bypassed touring the Edinburgh Castle today, even though I love visiting there. I've just been a few times and I wanted to see something new. So I walked down to the Haymarket and had some lunch down there while I waited the storm out a little. It was nice to read some more Treasure Island and relax inside where it was warm. I did this throughout the day. I also spent the day reminding myself that, yes, it's truly August 10th. People are wearing parkas! Of course, we're at roughly the same latitude as Anchorage, so it shouldn't be a surprise. I'm just glad I brought sweaters.

I did a little hat shopping. Not for myself. I was scouting some hats for My Fair Lady, which I'm directing at Hale West Valley this Fall (plug) and they asked me to find a couple of Trilby hats for Henry Higgins. Normally I wouldn't be caught dead in a shop called "Fabhatrix" but I was on an errand. I found a few - but so expensive! I also browsed for some in Armstrong & Sons, and that place is always wacky. I contemplated buying a kilt (I didn't.)

I spent a little time in the National Museum of Scotland, but probably not enough. I wanted to go in because the architecture is really cool. But it was full of kids and really noisy and people taking pictures of everything, so I got out of there. I needed a break from the city. So I walked to the train station, and went to North Berwick.

North Berwick is about 30 minutes east of Edinburgh, perched on a coast overlooking the North Sea. I had read about it somewhere - on the tube in London, actually - and vowed that I would get out there at some point. It was fantastic for clearing my head. The train ride was smooth and there was so much to see out the window. I walked along the beach and listened to my music. It wasn't beach weather - it was gray and foggy, but it was what you would hope a Scottish beach would look like. Rocky islands and bobbing boats. I threw some rocks and watched some birds. Then I went into town. I ducked into a little cafe for dinner and had some sacrelicious mushroom soup. And then the rain hit again, dang it, so I was forced to stay inside the diner and read about 10 chapters of Treasure Island! Poor me, I know. When the rain let up I headed back to the train station and had a quiet, smooth trip back into Edinburgh. The whole trip was really nice. And I have a feeling that when I'm home and faced with work and rehearsals and school again, North Berwick - and the quality alone time I had there - might be something I'll look back and miss.

I saw a late show tonight called The Boy James. It was produced by the Belt Up theatre company - they are famous for taking literary characters and exploring new and different facets of their stories. The Boy James was basically Peter Pan. It was really, really cool. You sat on couches and pillows in this attic space that had been decorated like a Kensington Nursery. An actor acted like a little boy, and he had us play tag and make fart sounds and do silly things. Then older James, who we eventually realize is J.M. Barrie, comes in and tells Little James it's time to grow up. It's actually a really sad ending. But throughout there are flashes of Peter Pan: Indian Dances, ticking clocks, flying, and even a Wendy character who bosses Little James around. I thought it was really clever and touching.

The only awkward thing, and it was kind of funny, happened at the end. Little James was crying and he hugged an audience member and, whispering in her ear, asked her if she would organize the audience into a single file and take them out of the theatre. But she was German and had no idea what he was saying. And none of us knew what he had whispered to her. So we sat there for like five minutes while Little James cried and this German lady sat there panicking. It was kind of funny. Eventually we all just got up and walked out.