The Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Every year in August, Edinburgh, Scotland, has a one month Festival. I’ve been told there are actually 11 festivals, but I am only familiar with a few: comedy, theater, music, books. Certainly something for everyone.
When I lived in London, I used to come up to Scotland for a few days each August and ‘play’, but haven’t been here for a while. Coming back reminds me that it’s worth holiday time to make a trip here each August: The range of possibilities are endless. Not to mention the Guiness and haggis!
There are short plays by students, and longer plays by famous (or dead) poets and playwrites. There are cabarets, and musicals and magic shows for kids. There is even a play about Adam and Eve in which the two characters are nude throughout the play, until they eat the apple at the end and put clothing on. There is one play (Don Quixote) in which the audience is blindfolded for the entire performance while the actors make it a sensory experience. The hit of the Fringe is Kafka’s The Trial, and the audience is the set and constantly reorganized around the actors. You name it, you think of it, it’s here.
Today I saw Sylvia Plath’s only play, 3 Women, performed by 3 talented young women. I also saw this amazing group of 6 acapella singers (The Magnets) who rocked the house (one of them sounds like a drum!). I watched a man do a one-man show (Diary of a Madman) and go mad, right before my very eyes, in a hangar kinda place that was dark and dank.
Tomorrow I will hear Clive James be interviewed, see a Muriel Spark play (The Girls of Slender Means), and see a large troup of dancers(Kataklo Athletic Dance Theatre) work and play with infinity. Yesterday I saw a group of Chinese dancers enact Midsummer Night’s Dream as if they were programming a computer that got a virus. I’ve seen a cabaret act with a blonde chanteusse, and 2 rotten comedians.
Imagine doing this for a month! It’s brain candy! People from all over the world, of all ages – although a preponderance of young folks under 30 – come together to enjoy the arts. Together we stand out in the rain and chat about what we’ve seen, where we are from, and what we do. I’ve spoken with students, a policeman on holiday, a drama professor, and a retired cabdriver from China.
Next year, plan your calendars and do the Fringe. You’ll be SO happy! Just bring your umbrella.