Monday, August 08, 2011

what the moon saw

We were up early today to get to our technical rehearsal which the venue, St. Augustine's, graciously scheduled for us since we missed our tech rehearsal yesterday. Not that it was difficult to wake up. The Edinburgh seagulls have a habit of screaming in your window. You go to sleep to yelling drunks, awake to screaming gulls, and smell malt all day: it's the Edinburgh style! You sort of grow to like it.

Our first performance of What the Moon Saw went really well. This show was directed and adapted by Cherie Julander, who's on the trip with us. It's a Hans Christian Anderson story about how the moon inspires a melancholy painter by telling him stories of what she sees as she passes through the sky. It has a lot of beautiful mixed media that Jaron and Casey put together; the show is cool to look at and great for kids. One of the families in the audience today was Danish, but the Mom had gone to high school as a foreign exchange student at Olympus High School in SLC. It was fun to talk to her, and fun to have them there. I was proud of how everyone did, and excited to have a solid start to the run of our show at the festival.

Joe Fox and his wife Suzy were there to greet us this morning; Joe is here to help with the technical aspects of the show. Afterwards, Joe and Suzy and I went to lunch. It was great to catch up, and we had a lot to talk about. Joe and I have worked together at UVU for six years and he's become a good friend and colleague. I'm sad he won't be there in the Fall. I appreciate him and his creativity and his love and passion for working with students. I look at the students he's mentored and it inspires me to be a better mentor myself. The only problem I have with him is his love for Haggis, which is what he ordered at Deacon Brody's Tavern. Suzy and I stuck with chicken options. We opted out of the sheep innards.

I met up with the students next to do some busking. This is where you join 4,000 other people on the Royal Mile and try to build an audience for your show. You pass out fliers, you sign, you dance, you run around, and you - as I put it - "flirt to convert." Anything you can do to get butts in seats, you basically do. It's a little overwhelming and it's invigorating at the same time. There is so much noise and so much color and so much energy. I don't know how to describe the mayhem unless you've been here. But I will try by showing you:

an Asian gentleman dressed as a cigarette:

a mermaid with scary sharp teeth:

After the busking I went into St Giles Cathedral and read my kindle. I ran out of Peeta and I can't download any more books outside of the US. So luckily there was a free copy of Treasure Island already downloaded, which I read a few chapters of. I've never read that! I like books about old pirates and ominous figures with peg legs showing up in sea shanty public houses. Read that sentence twenty times, I dare you. Anyway, after that I visited the Edinburgh library, which was doing an exhibit on banned books. It was free, and you get what you pay for. There was nothing really revelatory there; Huck Finn was banned? Wha-wha-wha-WHAT? So I headed back to St. Giles and there met up with Joe and Suzy and a handful of the students. Joe gave us a wonderful tour of the cathedral, and took us into the Thistle Chapel, which is the chapel of The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Scotland's foremost Order of Chivalry - something I just cut and pasted directly from Wikipedia. Anyway, I thought it was fascinating.

Then we moved off the Royal Mile and went to the Scottish Portrait Gallery. I've been looking at a lot of museums lately, so I seem now to only focus on quirky and weird paintings. Otherwise, it's a blur. But I really liked:

Three Oncologists, by Ken Currie

The Twins Clara and Aelbert de Bray, by Salomon de Bray

The Reverend Robert Walker Skating, by Sir Henry Raeburn

Lady Agnew, by John Singer Sargent

After lots of portraiture and gallery gazing, we were hungry as a pack of monkeys. So we went to City Restaurant, my favorite little joint in town. Not so little anymore, however! They've added a second floor! This will be great news to any of you who have sweated it out in a tiny table next to the pizza oven, as I have many times. The second floor is spacious and roomy and looks out over the University and the Festival Theatre. We had a nice chat there, and it felt good to eat. As it generally does.

Tonight I went by myself to see Coal Head, Toadstool Mouth, and Other Stories. It's four actors who are basically marionettes. Of course it is, as you can tell from the description, strictly for drama nerds. They act out several different stories, and they play many different characters. It really grew on me. It felt too familiar at first. People as puppets? I've seen that. But they had some really cool and interesting forms of storytelling, and I always dig that.

On my way home tonight I stopped and had a chicken kebab. Does it seem like I'm always eating? You are right!!! I am constantly eating.