Thursday, July 26, 2012

Roots and Wings

Perspective is a funny thing. It has this nasty habit of altering itself based on where you're standing.

For example, if you're two women, standing on a little island, about to fly across the seas to visit the world's largest arts festival...alone... that's BIG... right? 

BUT, if you're two women standing in the world's largest arts festival, trying to make yourselves heard amongst millions of others doing exactly the same thing... well, that's... small, right?

That's kind of how I remember it last year. Like this really big thing we were about to leap into, and, once we took the leap, we felt very...well, small. Because suddenly everything around us was so big. And loud. And fantastic. We kind of faded into the grey a little bit; the colours were just too bright.

But if it's all about where you're standing, maybe the trick is to learn to fly without uprooting your feet. To have roots and wings. To never lose sight of how big you think you are, no matter how much bigger those around you might get. To glide amongst them, fitting in perfectly, yet always holding on to what you know yourself to be. 

It's not about being the loudest or the best. You need to be heard, for sure, and every positive review with four or five stars gleaming off the page is a HUGE blessing. It's why we go. That's what gives us wings. (By the way, anyone who wants to exercise their powers of mental attraction is more than welcome to visualise stars for us. Really. Feel free. Five's a good number. Here's the image, to help you out: "The Jhiva of Nietzsche" ***** Now just picture it.....)

But, stars aside, retaining our roots in the midst of complete chaos, is possibly the biggest achievement of all. Believing in ourselves, and in what we're doing, in the work we're taking there, without even the slightest intimidation on account of our surroundings, without ever once feeling like ants amongst giants... Well, I think that's what the Fringe is about really. 

It is after all, the only festival that doesn't have any kind of selection process for its participants. You take yourself there, and no one promises you anything. If you're going to take that kind of risk... you'd better make sure your roots are as firmly implanted as possible. 


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A bump in the road

It doesn't matter how psychotically organized you are for a project, there's always gonna be those few pesky things that are simply out of your control. You do everything to ignore their existence as they bubble under the surface... but then, one erupts.

I'm talking about a slight bump we're currently facing, in our otherwise perfectly laid out road to a successful Fringe Fest. The venue we had lined up for 'Lulu the dog' has fallen through, and we've been given another venue (in the same building, luckily), but - and here's the real disaster - we've had to shift our dates slightly, so we're now performing 12th-18th rather than 11th-17th. Didn't sound too bad at first. What difference does one day make? And then it hit us. The bomb. In the form of 5000 already printed leaflets, with the WRONG dates, neatly packed and waiting for our arrival in Edinburgh. Yep... 5000 leaflets that we will need to hand-correct. One by one. Just the two of us, cramped in our tiny hostel room, just us and 5000 leaflets with the WRONG dates. My hand hurts already...

Unfortunately, all that we can do right now is e-mail the 200 journalists that we had sent the WRONG press release to, with the corrected dates. And ask the Fringe to kindly correct the dates on their website and phone app. With those slightly more manageable tasks under-way, we're back on track with the rest of our preparations.

Which at the moment include endless arguments about the corrections that need to be made in order to adapt the productions themselves for a Fringe audience (one activity that makes me eternally grateful there are only two of us), building new travel-sized sets and attempting to pack the sets of two shows into one suitcase weighing no more than 20kg (yep... how's that for a challenge?), fireproofing everything with a spray that cost us around 30 euros just for delivery (nothing I love more than UK fire safety regulations...), applying for awards (you never know!) and writing and sending constant press releases to journalists.

Luckily, the "boring stuff" is now officially over. We've dealt with taxes, vat, insurance, international forms, safety forms, contracts, accommodation, flights, registrations, music licensing... and now our main job is to perform and to get people through the door EVERY DAY.

Our 'Yoga for Performers' classes are almost fully booked, so that's a great start. With the right promotion and a little bit of good luck with reviewers, we'll hopefully be in for a great year at the Fringe. Even with a few bumps in the road.

Even with 5000 leaflets... with the wrong dates....


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Here we go again...! Yep.

Another year another Fringe! I seriously can't believe we're embarking on this journey a second time, but there's no doubt that this time round we've got our heads much more firmly screwed on, and geared in the right direction. We know where we're going. We know what we're doing. And because of this boundless certainty and confidence, we've allowed the madness to sway us towards taking yet another thoughtless leap - this year we're returning not with one, but with TWO shows, AND we're running a specialised yoga for performers workshop at Fringe Central! That's THREE things. Please note: the number of events we're taking to the Fringe Fest 2012 does indeed exceed the number of nutters running them, as this year, it's just me and Korina. Yep. Ratio - 3:2. We're outnumbered.

Of course, I'm on an organisational high at the moment to actually make it all happen; the only way to handle this kind of pressure is to create as many charts and lists as humanly possible. To be honest I think this part might just be more fun than actually going. Helps if you're a Virgo though.

This year has really been a fantastic one for us; we've managed to stage two shows, as well as our very first workshop production with both adults and kids. Our workshop groups are constantly growing, and we're so happy to be attracting such wonderful, creative individuals to work with.

We took a big leap with our show, 'Here's what I know about Humans, by Lulu the Dog', by not charging an entrance fee and allowing audiences to donate whatever they wanted. And the leap undoubtedly paid off; we were overwhelmed by the number of people willingly supporting us, and the generous amounts they were giving.

Furthermore, while we'd originally written this production solely for the purpose of raising money, 'lulu' quickly proved herself a powerful gem in its own right, and one that we believe could do very well as part of the festival. Especially as we had the extraordinary luck of meeting Angeliki Kouali, who coloured the production with her original music score. 

As a last-minute decision, we signed it up for the 'Free Fringe', a program which gives you a space for free, provided that you don't charge a ticket. (You're allowed to hold a bucket and ask for donations though). The rent we pay for a venue is one of our biggest expenses, and it is unlikely that the amount of tickets we sell will cover this expense, let alone allow us to make a profit. Therefore (theoretically, but we'll let you know in a couple of months), 'Lulu' probably has more chances of making money than 'Jhiva'.

But in any case, we were well warned that Fringe is not the place to go and make money, and that's not why we're going. Something about expanding horizons, gathering inspirations, that's much more up our alley. We're artists, what can I say?

And health-freaks too, so when we're stone-broke.... we'll live off sprouts!