Ahh. My day off! I have time for reflection now the exhilaration of the first week has passed. I am aware of just how wonderful it is to be part of the festival, and how quickly time flies when you are having fun!
Edinburgh is my hometown (well Longniddry, but near enough). It seems ideal to come back and perform the show here. Returning from the burbs of London I realise what I am missing out on. It suddenly strikes me that having a city-centre which is overlooked by a formidable castle built on volcanic rock is actually rather special and not the norm. I have always taken it for granted. The gothic Old Town looks more magnificent than ever and I feel a real pride to call Edinburgh home.
Performing at Edinburgh has its hazards - temptation surrounds you. There are so many things to do and shows to see, friends to meet, ways of spending your time and energy (not to mention money.) It seems very easy to get carried away and forget to save yourself and your energy for the reason you are here…the show. I feel a bit like a kid in a sweet shop. I recognise a familiar fringe feeling, akin to that of said child in sweet shop, where having overindulged in the goodies all around me I end up goggle-eyed and light headed, after a day of watching a succession of shows, and having one too many coffees in between.
There is less time to prepare and warm up before the show than we are used to due to the quick turnaround time in Traverse 2. As a result my warm up has been pared down (of course it is normally comprehensive, ahem) to some quick stretching, a few breathing exercises, mandatory humming and a couple of tongue twisters, done hurriedly in-between changing and trying to focus on the task in hand. I also have a pre-show playlist of songs which I insist on listening to as a way of getting me in the mood. This has become a ritual I daren’t miss. I reflect that it is slightly obsessive compulsive in nature to have to do something for luck, but am reassured when I see how often Keith (playing Frank) has to double check his shoelaces before we go on. Hehe. You can’t be too careful.
I am pleased at the renewed thrill I get from doing the show. My worry was that coming back to the piece after a year may make it less fresh and exciting than the first time around. However I think the reverse is true. I find I am able to relax and enjoy the show and apart from the odd day when my energy levels have been flagging slightly, I am pleased with how it is going. I had forgotten how the play carries you along, like surfing a wave, the pace and power of the writing takes you on such a journey that is fun to become lost in it and enjoy the ride. It is great that everyone in the cast made it back for this run; I know this is not always the case. Guy, our director is very busy in rehearsals for Hamlet, but we promise to keep him updated on how it’s going, minus all the blunders we have made (only joking Guy!).
My festival hit-list: performing Yellow Moon (of course), being able to see countless other shows; the chicken sandwich with potato wedges served in the Traverse bar, yum; the red dresses worn by the gorgeous women in The Bacchae (I considered going on strike until I was allowed to perform in one. Maybe not very Leila though?) Going past the castle everyday - It still stuns me, spotting famous(ish) folk, chatting to the audience members who have seen the show in the bar afterwards - great to be able to get their feedback, and not having to take the tube.
Cons: The bleeding huge mirror which confronts you on the landing of the Traverse. Inescapably in your eyeline. To look or not to look that is the question. Vain or coy? Vain or coy? Let’s go for coy. Yikes!! I looked.