Monday, August 05, 2013

here we are, edinburgh town

We headed to the tube station this morning in mass, bumping down Gloucester Road with all of our luggage. It’s sad to say goodbye to London, but the awkwardness of luggage and bags makes for a nice distraction. We were on the tube in no time, headed for Heathrow Terminal 1. It’s a long tube ride, and we basically filled the entire car with our stuff. But that’s how we roll. We came, we saw, we flew to Scotland.

The flight was pretty uneventful, despite the painted lady on the side of the plane. I was expecting the flight to be sexier, or more patriotic. They did give us little candy hearts, though. And I read two Entertainment Weeklies. I’m all caught up now on the news that matters.

We landed in Scotland in typical Scottish weather. It’s gray and it’s cloudy and it’s always changing. I’m used to it now. You forget that it’s August. Our taxi driver was a bit gruff but he got us there. I was a little terrified to talk to him. But then, after leaving my credit card in the car, he turned around and hand delivered it back to me on a street corner – just as I was realizing that it was gone. So he had a heart of gold, after all.

We met at the Gryphon Studios with my good friend and producer Kekoa, who gave the students an orientation and then led them to their theatre space so they could tech the show they’re performing for the festival. This year we’re doing Melissa Leilani Larson’s play Martyr’s Crossing, a beautiful cutting of a powerful play about Joan of Arc. Ames and Emily Bell directed it, and it’s great. Really nice to watch, and very moving. I’m excited for people to see it this week.

Lisa and I took a little stroll along the Grass Market, stopping at thrift stores and getting lost at Armstrong’s Vintage Emporium. I’m not sure I know of any city that does thrift shopping like Edinburgh. I almost never buy anything, because I get a little grossed out about wearing someone else’s clothes. I know, I’m a jerk about that. But come on, imagine what people did in those clothes!

Lisa and I had dinner at this delicious little hole in the wall called Wagamama’s (maybe you’ve heard of it? Try the ginger udon chicken.) Lisa told me a funny story about the restroom there. While she was in there she heard a mother trying to coax her 6 year old daughter out of a stall. “Go on without me,” the girl called. “I’m not going to leave you in there,” her mother replied. “I’ll phone you when I’m finished,” the girl said. “You don’t have a cell phone,” said her mother.

Today was Ames Bell’s birthday, and our special birthday boy wanted to celebrate by taking a tour of Mary King’s Close, a series of houses, rooms, and streets hidden below Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. Our tour guide was Keith, and he was very entertaining. He liked to shut the lights off down there and throw rats at us. It was super fun! You can just imagine. We learned about life in the 1600’s, and mostly heard about the plague. This plague, you guys. It killed just about everybody. Today the only plague we have is tattoos on everybody. There were some scary stories down there, but the scariest part of the tour was at the beginning, when an elderly man crashed the gift shop and began singing songs about Jesus to some terrified teenage girl. He was shown out. Ah, Scotland!

We all walked home after that, and it was a beautiful night. In no time we were all checked into our rooms, and the sounds of the booming military tattoo echoed over the streets.