Thursday, August 11, 2011

view from the top

Thanks to good word of mouth and a lot of flirting to converting, we had the biggest audience ever for a UVU Fringe show this morning. It was fun to see the show in a theatre full of families and patrons of all ages. It's tricky for us in many ways; most shows here at the festival play for 2-3 weeks. We're here for four days. So we have to build audiences fast. But word of mouth also helps and that, I think, was another element of today's success. I hope, anyway. They've worked hard on this show, and it needs to be seen.

We had been warned several times that today would be the end of the good weather in Edinburgh. Somehow everyone knows that a terrible storm is coming, and it's all anybody talks about. Riots, shmiots. There's a storm a-brewin'! I assume they all watch the weather on the news, unlike Lisa and I, who just bleep-bloop through the weather when we watch the news on our DVR. So, the point of all this is that we needed to be outside today. The students spent time busking on the Royal Mile again - and it was literally packed:

It gets to the point where you can barely manage to walk up it. You get pretty well pamphletized and bullied and forcibly entertained. I often pretend I'm on my cell phone so that nobody sells me their show. But that's because I'm cranky and old. And I'm also learning to use side streets to get around Edinburgh. However the vibe of the festival, despite my grouchypants, is creative and electric.

I went with several of the students to see Anton's Uncles, a deconstruction of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya created by the LA company Theatre Movement Bazaar. It's been all the rage at UVU since my students saw it at KCACTF last year. I can see why they loved it; it's funny, it's thoughtful, it's original, and it's got great dancing. I couldn't help but feel it was a little tired - this cast has been performing since 2009 - so I can't blame them. And it's a little played out. I'd love to see what TMB can do with a new piece. But it's still incredibly fun and I laughed a lot. They even pulled Aubrie onstage and vied for her love. She handled it well. It was great to finally see this show.

Afterwards we had a quick pint of Diet Coke at Frankenstein's pub and then I hustled out to catch a performance of Orlando, performed by the Cryptic Theatre Company and based on Virginia Woolf's novel. It was a one woman show, and the actress played two genders and four time periods with lots of enthusiasm and commitment. From what I can remember. I was asleep in minutes. It wasn't her fault. It's just hard when it's 4 in the afternoon and you just had a baguette and they are playing cool but mellow music and this lady is literally rolling on the floor in slow motion. I am as artsy as the next guy, but I also, as you probably know, need my naps. So I apologize that I can't give much of a review to Orlando. I liked the lasers!

To take full advantage of the nice weather before Hurricane Macbeth blew in we decided to hike Arthur's Seat. I did this a few years ago with my friend Kekoa, but this was the first time I'd taken students up. It's steeper than it looks, but so worth the hike. Along the way we stopped at the remains of a castle, where an impromptu battle broke out:

The best part of that is when Greg throws the soda can and the wind blows it right back at him.

We pushed up, onward and upward until we reached the top. And it was pretty glorious. The wind was crazy, and picked up even more while we were up there, but there was something really amazing about seeing the city of Edinburgh stretched along a hill as the sun was going down. I lay on the grass and listened to some music and pondered the view. It was amazing from every angle. So glad we did this.

Afterwards we hiked down and into town and had dinner at The Tass pub. I had fish and chips for, believe it or not, the first time this entire trip. We had a great talk at dinner and played with the wax from the candle. In the background, a troupe of fiddlers played some Scottish tunes. We leave in two days, and this is the kind of stuff I'll miss.