Saturday, 5 September 2009

Back to the Internet with you!

Hey friends,

So back from the 'burgh, and as always, it is both lovely and oddly sad to be back. The whole thing was an indisputable success - manic and inspiring in equal parts, and the being back feels a little bit like the week after Christmas. I've got all of these presents I didn't have before, both actual presents (a few amazing hand made cards and a beautiful poster of our programme given to both Andy and I by Ellie and Freya, not to mention the Fringe First!) and more ethereal presents - the shows I got to see over a period of 2 weeks. Just how many creative diamonds we nestled in the sand of Edinburgh is really something to be proud of.

I had a really interesting conversation at Devoted and Disgruntled over the festival with a lovely lady named Gill who is a barrister. She brought up the topic of Liveness, what defines it, what is it, what makes it important? I think one of the main reasons I love performance, and food, is that feeling of having a lived moment somewhere in your memory that you can return to again and again, and that always gives you a certain feeling. In both theatre and food it is often carefully prepared, recreated for person after person, so that an experience or memory that may seem to you unique is actually one that has been shared by an untold number of other people. You all fell in love with the performer when the music started to slow, you all felt like you were eating a cloud when you tasted Torro at Nobu. And then of course, a few of you didn't. A few of you felt the show was too sentimental. A few of you hated the texture of the food. There is something here that I'm having a hard time putting my finger on, especially since this matter of taste is equally true of prerecorded music or films.

But here's what I love about liveness - that wrapped up in that memory of a feeling, is the memory of frailty, the memory that at any moment something could have gone wrong - and yet, something beautiful, even with the possibility of accident or disruption, still happened. This is what makes live performance, especially when it's good, for me the most electric and exciting artform. Danger and frailty. There was a lot of that this festival, in the performances and in the venue - the danger of audiences not showing up, the danger of candles knocking over, the danger of a random angry man walking in and disrupting everything (which happened!) and the strength/frailty of a team of volunteers holding everything together with a smile and some effort.

It was a great festival. Too great to be articulate about. It was what it was in the moment. Struggling, and dangerous and ultimately successful. A constant worry and a constant celebration. Thanks to everyone who helped make that happen.

Next blog post will be funnier - I promise. It's just that I'm listening to the Goldberg Variations, and Mr. Gould has got me all reflective-like. Blame it on the piano player.