Post-Fringe Ponderings

It is long enough (three weeks) since the Fringe to warrant a retro-style photographic record. Nostalgia comes faster every year. I put these through a filter on a website called ‘Make Retro’, the true meaning of which I am still delving into, even after a pre-existing blog on that sort of nonsense. Have a look at more photos I ‘made’ ‘retro’ here.

So, the Fringe went very well. Not only did I get a five star review from my one intrepid reviewer, but The Translator’s Dilemma was also a nice little success.  I was incredibly proud of both shows, for very different reasons.

E/G was very much a solo affair, content-wise. I could not have done it without the help of my various standard supporters (parents and gentleman friend among the most notable). I could quadruply not have done it without the support of John Yellowlees of ScotRail, an unending champion of trains and poems and planters at stations. Despite this, most of the work fell to me and the poetry books, or me and the press release, or me and the 7000 words to write then learn.

Translator’s Dilemma, on the other hand, was a hugely team (hugely team?) effort. First among equals, though, was Jesse Phillippi. Hers was the first idea, hers the driving force, hers the loneliest hours in front of the flashing cursor. But the team of producers, marketing, publicity, fundraising, translation-checkers, rehearsal-space providers and I-don’t-know-whaters were a truly central part of the process. Even the writing process came down to nearly 20 drafts and their interim discussions between Jesse and various people (including Nicola McCartney and Davey Anderson) and then Jesse and I. At the end all we were left with was her incredible humility, patience and hard-work and my insistence on everything happening in the room. IN THE ROOM.

The rehearsal process was very long and terrifyingly short. We found our ‘Sam’ – the student in the play – in Amy Conway, fairly late on in the process. In her we found a indomitable smiling and skillful force who added greatly to the process and moved Sam from quiet, two-dimensional cipher to a complex and rebellious victim and important partner for the audience in what was sometimes a slightly unnerving experience.

The Fringe can often be so grueling an experience that the fun and joy of the game of making and seeing plays gets buried under press-releases and the half-price hut, and with the added adventure of traipsing through from Glasgow every day I’m well aware I was guilty of letting that happen this year. But at no point, not even in the depths of a poverty stricken, persecution-complex-ridden, flyering-in-the-rain steely second did I think that I would not do it again.

Fringe, oh Fringe, come to me again – take my hand, slap my face, kiss my forehead and whisper in my ear. Make your words ideas, I want another shot.


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