It will still be really nice to be home.
After breakfast at Pollock, most of us climbed up Arthur's Seat - the best view of Edinburgh. We then had our closing ceremonies in the South Hall here at Pollock where we were treated to among other things, a short performance by Baby Wants Candy - a group the produces improvised musicals. We were also given an award for "The accent I can't get outta my head".
Next was lunch at Pollock, then on a city bus to the Gilded Balloon for Laika: A Space Dogessy - a musical about the first dog that Russia launched into space. Despite being in a small space and a cast of mostly non-singers, this was a very entertaining piece that somehow managed to create empathy while also being very silly.
After that, we boarded a new bus to take us to the No Fit State Circus Big Top. No Fit State is a Welsh circus company that specializes in promenade performances - the audience surrounds and is surrounded by the performers and moves for different acts. A wonderful company that we also saw in 2010. Here is a clip...
And here is their official trailer...
After Bianco, we hopped a bus to take us near our next venue and grab dinner. We stopped off at The Elephant Room (of JK Rowling fame) but they were packed to the gills. We ended up splitting into two groups - Mr. K went one way and I went with the other to Nando's. We then hustled it over to The Assembly to catch our final performance - Rhythmic Circus - a great mixture of music, tap, beatboxing, and fun. Here's a clip and their trailer.
We then hopped a bus back to Pollock where we redistributed all the set/prop/costume pieces we were responsible for and then called it a night.
It seems our adventure has come to a close. We rise before dawn to board the busses that will drive us to Glasgow for our flight back to the US. We performed at the world's largest arts festival among the best and brightest new groups from around the globe and we saw theatre and had experiences that could never have been experienced in Ohio. I hope that all of us are leaving with a sense of pride over what we have accomplished.
It will still be really nice to be home.
After breakfast today, we all hopped the city bus and went down to Prince's Street. There is so much going on over in this part of town. Huge parks, art fairs, a ferris wheel and carousel, the National Gallery of Scotland, and of course... SHOPPING!
We grabbed a bite for lunch while we were down there, then boarded the busses for our final AHSTF show - Seussical at Pilrig Theare.
After we returned to Pollock there was a short break to refuel, then we began our binge. First we walked to The Summerhall Festival Theatre to see Dead to Me. This was a really interesting play performed in the round in a pop-up theatre constructed for the festival. The play was about how an offhand comment made by a phony psychic dramatically altered the life of a man, who became a psychic healer and was consequently responsible for countless future deaths. Very existentialist.
We then had a break for dinner in the neighborhood and then returned to Summerhall for A Journey Around my Skull. Upon arrival, the audience is each handed a pair of headphones. In this one woman piece, a doctor is addressing her patient who suffers from auditory hallucinations due to a benign tumor. Completely immersive sound - plus a glowing head. A fantastic piece.
We then walked up to Zoo Southside for our final piece of the evening, Super Tramp. In this physical theatre piece, a young man tries to come to terms with how his alcoholic father shot and killed his mother. A powerful storyline overall, but poorly written and (in my opinion, at least) amateurishly executed. The kids also got to experience another truth of the Fringe - there was not a single other person not in the company at the theatre apart from us.
We waited for a bus for a bit to come back to Pollock, but then realizing that we were downstream of the thousands leaving the Tattoo at the same moment, we just walked back. Another great day!!
First, here's a link to a nice gallery of photos from the Daily Record.
These were taken while we were performing on the Royal Mile (They took pics of us too, but we evidently didn't make the cut). Still, a nice look at what was going on at the time.
After breakfast here at Pollock, we hopped a bus to The Space @ Surgeon's Hall to See Dying City, a play by Christopher Shinn. A good play, but overall a very amateurish production.
We then went back over to Pleasance Courtyard to see the Complete History of Comedy (Abridged) - this is the latest offering from the guys at the Reduced Shakespeare Company - the ones that do the hilarious Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged). The show traced the evolution of comedy since it's earliest days and was, of course, extremely funny - and Camille was even pulled up on stage to provide sound effects for an improv. We keep getting chosen to go on stage for these shows! It must be the sea of matching shirts.
After the show, the cast all got to meet the RSC guys. Pretty cool!
We then hopped a bus back to Pollock to hop the AHSTF bus to take us to see Godspell, put on at Pilrig. It's the first thing we've gotten to see at the other AHSTF venue.
Once we returned, we had just enough time to change and get ready for our final performance of Midsummer/Jersey. The show went wonderfully - their strongest ever - and we finally had a large and vocal audience - they ate it up! The kids were quite excited on the ride back to Pollock, as you can see...
I think the realization that something that we've been a part of for over a year is ending has started to kick in. Intermingled with the excitement and revelry was the occasional moment of waxing philosophical. We finally ended the night with some celebratory pizza and went to bed. Another winning day.
After breakfast here at Pollock, the first thing on our agenda was going back to the Pleasance Courtyard to see Decomposed - a story that featured much parody of classical music in a very silly screwball comedy style script about two brothers, one who had done nothing with his life and one that tried to do too much - both at a crossroads. Overall a strong piece.
We grabbed a bite at TESCO on our way to the bus back to Pollock and got ready for our next performance of Midsummer/Jersey at Church Hill.
I had thought about trying to squeeze a performance in between our third show and dinner, but it was just too tight. So we had almost 2 hours to take care of any final laundry or simply rest before dinner.
After dinner at Pollock, we took the city bus to Just the Tonic at the Caves (a really cool space under part of the city) for Frankenstein: Unbolted - a very loose spoof of the Frankenstein story. Very, very funny. Oh - and Stephen may have been pulled on stage a bit. He had the audience in stitches (no pun intended). You might be able to tell from the photo that "The Creature" is "Frankie" (from Frankie Goes to Hollywood fame).
Our final show of the day was Ennio Marchetto: The Living Paper Cartoon back at Pleasance Courtyard. A highly entertaining and creative show. And there was a bit of excitement amongst us when he did the bit below.
Here's his official trailer...
Another busy day!
Day Nine - Shakespeare For Breakfast, Our Royal Mile Performance, I Need a Doctor: The Who-sical, Our Second Show, and NEvada: It Ain't Just About Vegas, Baby... Whew!
After breakfast at Pollock, we went to another breakfast show - Shakespeare for Breakfast. We saw these guys in 2010 as well, and they have sold out every year for like six years or something. Hilarious. A great mash up of four of Shakespeare's heroes, four of his villains, and references to at least a dozen or more plays. And the best part is that it was hilarious even if you were a complete Shakespeare newbie. Oh - and great minds think alike - our Royal Mile show: a rap battle complete with Shakespearian insults. The finale of their show: a rap battle complete with Shakespearian insults. Same idea born on two continents!
After lunch, we went to our performance on the Royal Mile. They did great! Flyers were passed, a crowd was gathered, fun was had. It was a really good moment. Here is a clip from their performance...
We had about 45 min to kill so we all explored some of the shops on the Royal Mile before going over to Pleasance Courtyard to see I need a Doctor - The Who-sical. Overall a cute show.
We then had our second performance at Churchill Theatre. Several of the kids said that they felt off, but I thought it was easily the most solid performance to date. They should be very pleased with how the show is finishing up.
There was just enough time to grab a quick sandwich before we left to see another AHSTF performance - Nevada: It Ain't Just About Vegas, Baby. That wrapped up about midnight, and we all made it back safe, sound, and sleepy.
First - not really related to this post directly, I though folks back home might want to see the view from outside the hall window where we are staying. We are in a really beautiful place. That, of course, is the low side of Arthur's Seat.
Everyone looked much more rested this AM. Most of us had a later breakfast today, then got ready for our fist performance. Once we arrived at the theatre, we had a little extra time, so the kids went out to busk the street that the theatre is on for 15 minutes before the show. We had a nice audience - students from another school that were very vocal, and a whole lot of seniors from the neighborhood who were quiet, but very impressed - at both the kids and by how much Shakespeare we cram into such a short show. Several of them approached me to tell me how much they had enjoyed themselves. Mr K and I were both the house crew and the mandatory fire watchers. Here are a few shots of the performance...
Once we returned, we quickly went back to the spot we had rehearsed at previously and we went through our Royal Mile performance routine that we will be doing tomorrow afternoon, then all went back to their rooms to change before we headed out to see Louisville: Our Town. The play was a devised theatre piece that used Thornton Wilder's Our Town as the starting point. Many of the scenes expressed similar points of view as his play, but it was personalized to the lives of these performers.
After dinner, we then went to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. WOW! What a show. I don't think anything I can post can really show the grandeur of the whole production. Oh, and by chance, Janet and Charles Prior had tickets for tonight as well!
There's just something about being fired off of a castle that makes fireworks even cooler.
Oh, and we were even welcomed by name!
We've got a busy day tomorrow - seeing three performances, plus giving one AND our performance on the Royal Mile.
I thought you might want to see this time lapse video of them building the bunker - unfortunately, it stops before the set is dressed. The finished product looked really impressive.
Tonight we had our Ceilidh - the traditional Scottish dance party. Definitely a lot of fun. First, an example from the experts as to how the dance is done.
Now... Our version!
And for good measure, here's one more...
We're going to bed early tonight - before curfew. It's time to catch up on sleep, laundry, whatever our ails may be. We've got a show to put on in the morning!
The day began with breakfast at Pollock as usual, then we all loaded up a bus and began a day-long guided tour of The Trossachs. First stop - Stirling Castle and the William Wallace Monument. On the way we saw some of the most beautiful country you can imagine and even caught a glimpse of The Kelpies as we drove past.
The castle was really impressive, as you can see...
When we left Stirling we drove to Callander for a picnic and time to shop.
And after that it wasn't long before we finally met Hamish, the Highland Cow.
We finished up the day in Aberfoyle at a lovely spot - shops, petting zoo, a duck herding show, and of course everything you could think of made from wool. We then drove back to Pollack for a night of pizza followed by the Ceilidh - a traditional Scottish dance party.
What an incredibly full and fantastic day! Here's the lengthy run-down.
We had breakfast here at Pollock before going over to the Pleasance Dome venue to see The Big Bite-Sized Breakfast Show (you get a croissant, coffee, and strawberries as you enter). This was a short play festival that had previously played the Brighton Fringe earlier this year - they were also doing one of my plays, so I kinda had go see it. The performance of all 5 plays was solid. After the show, some of the kids got to talk with the producer and the two actors that were in my show. A very strong start for the day. You can get a taste (no pun intended) of what the show was like at their website. http://www.bite-size.org.uk/edinburgh-2014/
After the show we went back for lunch - yep that's 3 - count 'em, THREE meals in under 4 hours. and then gathered our show supplies for our technical rehearsal at the theatre. AHSTF bussed us over and we ran like clockwork. All of the kids' work really showed. We finished with almost 10 minutes of work time to spare, they were fixing all of their problems on their own as they went, and the staff was incredibly impressed at how effortless the tech was. I was definitely proud of them.
Tonight we had to eat on the run to our next show - unfortunately what was on the way was a Subway and a KFC - It was fast and easy, but not too UK. We went back to the Pleasance Courtyard - this time to their Grand Theatre - to see VOCA People. I think most people would describe them as the halfway point between Blue Man Group and acapella. REALLY impressive vocal work. As a bonus, we happened to be sitting directly behind Reed Martin from the Reduced Shakespeare Company and some of the kids got to say hi - we have tickets to see his new show - The History of Comedy later this week.
Next we hopped a bus and went across town for our next show. We arrived a little early, so they had about 20 minutes to check out the Prince's Street area around the Scottish National Gallery - tons of shopping (of course, we were there on a Sunday night, so it was more about familiarization) a great park, an artisan fair, and a ferris wheel to boot.
Our next show was The Sake at the New Town Theatre - a very cool mixture of elements from Kabuki mixed with high tech multimedia, electrified music, acrobatics, magic and more. I have a few clips from their show and their trailer posted below. The basic premise was a personification of the process of making sake.
You can find out all about it at: http://www.den-entertainment.com
OH - and James might have been called on stage... Twice.
Next, we rushed to get the bus to go across town again to our next show at C: Nova - The Bunker Trilogy: Macbeth. All I can say is WOW. You walk in to discover that rather than going into a theatre, you are walking inside of a small WWI bunker, with a number of benches around the walls. The company then performed an adapted version of Macbeth right along side you. Complete with explosions and effects, fantastic light & sound design, rock solid acting, great visuals. Truly an impressive performance. Info can be found here: http://www.thebunkertrilogy.com
An absolutely wonderful day!