Mo Blog

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Back in the fish tank

Some of the crew from The Wind up Bird Chronicle at the Kings Theatre

A few more visual updates from on and off the stage at the Edinburgh International Festival.

Semiramide at the Festival Theatre

 The Revenge of Prince Zi Dan at the Festival Theatre

1001 Nightsat the Lyceum Theatre

Princess Bari at the Playhouse Theatre


Saturday, 27 August 2011

Age old

The Festival has just turned 64 years young! 64 is a huge achievement for the longest running performance festival in Edinburgh. While maybe starting to feel a little senior, compared to the scenes of art, performance and theatre where it draws its programme from, it is actually very young.

While the festival pulls huge tradition and ritual from across the globe, it uses every modern convenience to drive itself. Everywhere i look i see the very old with the very new. Old performers and new audiences. Ancient venues with fresh approaches. Old circles welcoming new friends. Traditional stories told like for the first time.

 A mother and her daughter admire the Lightning Drawings exhibition at the launch night

The rooftop grid system at the Festival Kings Theatre. These bars have taken the weight of thousands of performances since 1906.

Amjad Ali Khan during a sound rehearsal

Princess Bari Choreographer Eun-Me Ahn and the Lord Provost of Edinburgh embrace in thanks at the artists reception at the City Chambers

Conductor Alberto Zedda leads a rehearsal of the orchestra for Semiramide

Ravi Shankar receives a standing ovation at the age of 91 at the Usher Hall

The original curtain counter-weight at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre

Sir Gerald Elliot hosts an Indian inspired pre-theatre reception in honour of Ravi Shankar

2nd year students from the Royal High School stretch out before an after school dance class. THe RHS is a main focus of dance tuition with many students going on to dance professionally

A guest weaver operates a handmade loom at the Dovecot studios. His technique is meticulous and ancient in spinning silk.

Young participants in the Nrityagram Ensemble dance class look on with a snack

Friday, 19 August 2011

The smoke and mirrors

In many ways when we stand to applaud, we clap for what is immediately before our eyes. A procession of performers or a slight genuflection, the celebration is signalled and we are on our feet, gushing praise. We applaud the spectacle, though members of the audience never forget the craft.

But the craft is a spectacle all of its own. A performance itself behind closed doors. The preparation and procedure of a performance can last for weeks and merge across continents in differnet terrains before coming together before our cacophanous ovations.

For the Peony Pavillion, i knew this was certainly the case. The National Ballet of China allowed me to access their dancers on and off stage during their visit to the Edinburgh International Festival this week. It allowed me to penetrate the smoke and mirrors, so to speak, of their own rich spectacle. I saw how grand a feat it is to bring, literally to transport, a performance like that to the stage. Dozens of dancers, an orchestra, props and stage equipment as well as the company staff, all for 5 nights. I was lucky to see beyond the porceline expressions of some of the worlds greatest ballet dancers, to see how young they are and how their youth still shone through the pressures and demands of thier roles.

In the wings of the show i stood like a brick, while their serpentine bodies eased in and out of costumes and disappeared and reappeared through hidden doors. I was overcome just how powerful the ballet is from close quarters, but i was struck more by how wonderfully out of shape i felt.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Forward March

 Performances are fully underway after a busy weekend of openings and celebrations. Edinburgh is properly mobbed and seats are packed. Get a glimpse...

  Wu Hsing-Kuo performs a one man visual feast in King Lear at Edinburgh's Lyceum

 Korean adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest performed with the cinematic virtuosity of Hayao Miyazaki at Edinburgh's Kings Theatre

Classical Guitarist Xuefei Yang warms up for a receital for BBC Festival Cafe at Edinbugh's Potterrow

March on Festival 11!