Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Day in the Life... explaining the lack of posts in this blog

You may be wondering why there has only been one post this week. Here's a typical day in the life:

7:30am: Wake up, get dressed, and do Korina's hair and make-up for Jhiva
9.30-10.30am: Flyering on the Royal Mile, the busiest high-street where everyone goes to promote their shows with flyers and street theatre. 
10.30-11.30am: Flyering outside our venue
11.30-12.00pm: Set-up for our show
12.00-1.00pm: The Jhiva of Nietzsche
1.00-1.30pm: Clear-up set and put it into storage
1.30-2.30pm: Lunch/Shower 
2.30-4.00pm: See shows
4.00pm: Korina changes into 'Lulu'
4.30-5.30: Flyering on Prince's street for 'Lulu'
5:30-6.00pm: Set-up for 'Lulu'
6.00-6.40pm: Here's What I Know About Humans, by Lulu the Dog
6.40-7.00pm: Clear-up set and put it into storage
7.00pm: Dinner
8pm-10pm: See shows
10pm: Correct 300-400 leaflets for handing out the next day
11pm: SLEEP!

Note: Blogging is NOT EASY to cram into this schedule. 

Not to mention the yoga classes twice a week! Life is madder than ever doing two shows here at the Fringe, but it has also been an unforgettable experience. Like last year, this year taught us so much more about playing this game, and every difficulty has only made us stronger. With just one day left, every bone in our bodies is exhausted, but if you told us to keep going another week... we'd do it. 

This is what we do, it's who we are. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Thick Skin

The experience of the Fringe is one that no one can truly describe... not if you haven't lived it.

It's a constant wave, recognised only in the eyes of performers and crews, standing day after day on the streets, desperately trying to attract spectators. You'll see the same faces, enthusiastic one day, torn down by exhaustion, poor audience numbers or a bad review the next.

And amongst those faces, you'll see us. Constantly shifting between joy and desperation, exhaustion. Never wanting to leave in one instance, desperate to go home the next.

And the only way to get through it, to survive people walking out in the middle of your show, to survive the harshness of a critic, tearing down your hard work with his every word, is to unearth the thickest coat of skin, from the depths of your own tolerance.

We know that we came here with a 'love it or hate it' play, and it was simply bad luck that the critics that came fell into the latter category. Audiences, for the most part, have responded extremely positively, some returning to see it a second time, others bringing friends. Many engaged us in long discussions after the show about where the ideas came from.

'Lulu', which premièred on Sunday, was met with great enthusiasm also, and critics were much kinder with this show. But we knew they would be, 'Lulu' has the power to charm anyone. We are very happy to have had high audience numbers for this show so far, and hope that this continues.

So you take the good with the bad, roll with the punches, and just keep going. With four days to go, who knows what could happen? This is the Fringe, after all.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Snaps [edited]

'Jhiva' out and about again.... this time with a few edits. God bless the iphone.

Black Wednesday

The first Monday and Tuesday of every Fringe Fest are 2 for 1 days, and many people take those days off work to see shows; but after the buzz, people tend to steer away from theatre for a day before it all picks up again - this day has been labelled 'BLACK WEDNESDAY'.

We weren't told. So when we only had one booking, we hit the streets early and leafleted like mad. We talked to everyone we met, desperately trying to convince them to come to our show.

The problem is, you might convince them to come - but it's unlikely you'll convince them to come RIGHT NOW. We only had a couple of hours.

Yet somehow, we got six people through the door. On black Wednesday. Simply by leafleting. And if we got six to come RIGHT NOW, we must have got a lot more than that to come on other days.

So leafleting works.... it just needs, a LOT of time and effort. But isn't that what we're here for? To give it our all. And we've got friends and family slowly coming in to help out, so the team's getting stronger by the day.

We still haven't had any luck with reviews... no word, good or bad has been written about us, but that's not really under our control any more. All we can do now... is leaflet.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Our first Edinburgh Street Venture

We ventured out into the streets today. 

Jhiva on the loose in Edinburgh. 

It was... an interesting morning.

 I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Yoga for Performers

Sunday marked our first 'Yoga for Performers' attempt at Fringe Central. We're very pleased that the classes have proved so popular, selling out weeks in advance, and the staff even commented that we were by far the most popular event this year! Who knew yoga would prove such a trend amongst performers? 

The first class went extremely well, and proved a useful platform for meeting some very interesting individuals. We hope that the rest of the classes continue in this fashion.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Turnaround

When things carried on going terribly wrong for us two days in a row, there wasn't much we could do except pray for a turnaround. We had the WORST tech rehearsal in the HISTORY of all tech rehearsals. I mean.... it should have got an award for being so bad.

As we entered the theatre for the first time, we were thrilled with the space. It looked perfect, much more elegant and suitable than the stage we had the previous year. But there was one key thing missing.... the projector. We'd arranged to rent a projector off another company who were buying one, and as they do not arrive until the week we leave, they had the projector delivered to the venue 2 days before our arrival.

Now you'd think, with an entire professional tech team, you might have the genius idea of actually opening the boxes, putting it all together and having it ready for us to use. But, alas, they chose to do this in the mere 1 1/2 hours we had to set up lighting, sound, and do a rehearsal. And it took them 95% of that time, to lay out the hundreds of screws and bolts involved in setting up the mount for the projector, and to inform us that 'unfortunately, it just doesn't fit. Sorry, nothing we can do.'

Ah, okay... well since there's nothing they can do....

In a whirl of panic, with only 5-10 minutes left, we set up the projector on a DESK in the audience. I quickly programmed the lights, and we left. Without running ANY scenes.

Award-worthy, I know.

But there HAD to be a turnaround. What goes down must go up.

The next day was a big one. Saturday was 'meet the media' day, and our very first preview show, where we would go on un-rehearsed. The small glimmer of hope was that the group going on before us hadn't started their run yet, which gave us a teensy bit of extra time before going on to run a couple of short scenes.

At 9am we got in the queue to meet the media. People normally start showing up around 11am, but you're only allowed in at 2pm. The queue by then goes right round the block and down the street. We were determined to be FIRST in line, and we were. I did Korina's hair and she did her make-up while we were in line, and then some friends kindly took our place in line while we went off to do our show and come back.

And that was the moment of truth. The show had every potential to be a complete disaster, yet there was a quiet cool in both of us that told us everything would somehow just magically work itself out.

And boy, did it. The show, with its 69 unrehearsed technical queues, went off without a single glitch. We had an audience of 14 people, which is pretty impressive for a preview show, and they all seemed to be enjoying it. A few people came to us at the end, very enthusiastic about what they had just seen.

A huge weight was lifted. Because we didn't know if it could work. Not just technically... but if a fringe audience would respond positively to this work. It's so different. It's like nothing else out there. How would people see it??

Glowing with the success, we hurried back to reclaim our first place in the never-ending queue. And then the lovely people from 'soundcloud' gave us free t-shirts, bags and an interview for being first in line! I'm not one who's usually excited to do interviews... but I took that one on with a huge grin on my face, and proudly told them we'd got here at 9am!

At 2pm they opened the doors, and chaos reigned. We now had to re-queue for each reviewer, and this totalled up to another 4 hours of queueing. The amount of people, the heat and noise in the building was overwhelming, but the atmosphere buzzed with the energy of so many actors, performers, directors and musicians, desperately trying to make their show stand out.

 And some... really tried. (see photo)

Overall I do believe we did well here too, with several reviewers confidently stating they would attend and provide a review. We left the building starving and exhausted, but extremely content. We'd done it. The day could not have gone any better. Oh, and we bumped into Korinna McRobert, an old friend from Theatre Antidote who came to our show and loved it, and promised to come and film us on Monday, which is fantastic, as we really needed someone to do that!

Today is Sunday, and the first of our 'Yoga for Performers' workshops kicks off at 11am. We're entirely sold out for the yoga sessions, which is very promising. The program is a new, experimental program devised by Korina, and we hope that if it goes well it's something we'll be able to expand in various ways.