Mo Blog

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Au Fol Espoir

At the end of a mega month, with a huge backlog to expose from all the shows and stages, this post comes first for one reason. Watching the sheer event of the castaways of the Théatre du Soleil on their final night at Lowland Hall was my last knoll for August. With a few more days and a few more shows to go, I have myself been shipwrecked for any other show this month. Watching Ariane Mnouchkine gather up her troupe and launch them into four frantic hours of the most human and most literal théâtre, I know I have witnessed an unsurpassable spectacle.

The analysis is for the critics. I remain just bowled over and incredibly grateful to have attaneded something as monumental. Here are my images from shores of the Fol Espoir.


Thursday, 23 August 2012

Speed of Light

So what about the rest of this mad month? As a one man epitome of August, I have been  running around. 

Nothing new for me, so given the opportunity to turn my frantic occupation into performance art, how to resist? The NVA have upped the game as part of this year's EIF programme, and taken root in Edinburgh's most impressive venue. After dusk the iconic Arthur's Seat lights up to the Speed of Light, where individual runners illuminate the landscape into choreographed shapes and sequences with glowing body suits. The audience drive forward through a dark Hollyrood Park, with light and sound emerging in stages on their route to the summit

The beauty is, that no one is a trained performer. All the runners are volunteers, so half excited by the idea of re-enacting scenes from Tron, half intrigued to see if my alabaster legs could be seen from afar, I signed up. I ran on the opening weekend and I was so enamored by the lunacy of it all, I am running again on Sunday. It is a show that ticks boxes for me. As a restless individual, I am a blight on conventional theaters. Unable to keep still in my seat and bursting with a running commentary, Arthur's Seat was the perfect venue, where you can work up a sweat and whistle while you work, so to speak. I did wonder if there was not another show amongst the lot this month that had a full light-suit Mexican Wave. There's a festival first for sure.


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Traverse Fringe

The Traverse during August. An institution in its prime.

Dark and underground, with its mellow, modern climate. Tucked underneath all the commotion like an emergency shelter. Like some patient sentinel, offering cool sanctuary to the martyrs of this frantic month. A dark place to close your eyes and open your brain.

From their fringe program this month, it is remains a steeple of contemporary theatre in Scotland. But much more so during August. Subterranean refuge for many, second home to some (myself included). It acts an unlikely Oasis where artists and audiences from every tier come to draw water. It is the final destination for many after a full day of shows, a place with its own gravity, where sanity always remains. A place you will probably find me seeing out the next few weeks.

Here are some of the performances from this month's program

Bravo, Figaro - Mark Thomas

Beats - Kieran Hurley

Angels - Iain Robertson

Mess - Caroline Horton

All That is Wrong - Koba Ryckewaert

Morning - Simon Stephens

Born to Run - Shauna MacDonald


Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Uptown, driver!

Here we are again

The unavoidable throng. The snails pace circuit. The pockets full of flyers. The familiar sights that for every year-round resident of Edinburgh, sends a shiver of dread. Your own backyard colonised and overrun!

But overrun with absolute revelry. I find it hard to grumble when there are 10,000 people either side of me in full festival abandon. The city is ablaze again. Doors that remain locked all year long are thrown open to performances. Any empty space is transformed into a pop-up stage. You find yourself carousing in an ancient cellar, a university lecture theater, a ballroom or in an impromptu garden within an hour of each other. I have been in the thick of it for a full week and I have still barely scratched the scale of this long giddy month. I have had lots of fun from the front row of some amazing theatrical productions this year and am looking forward to sharing them as the month unfolds.

The last few weeks have seen weather a plenty to drown every square inch of the city, and it is no surprise that the one thing to escape the dampening is that brazen festival spirit. So for those still reluctant to wet a toe, put your reservations behind and get yourself into town.