We walked the Royal Mile today, the main artery of the “Fringe” Festival. “Orpheus X” is part of the Edinburgh International Festival, not the Fringe. The “Fringe” has long become the huge, the ersatz mainstream of this mainstream (since 1947) Festival. The streets are full of buskers vying for attention, handing out postcards in creative ways (like lying in a coffin), flyers pasted everywhere, live music. It reminds me of performing in Provincetown in the summer—in order to get an audience you have to snag them in the street and seduce them with snippets, your costume, postcard, charm. I was told that the average audience number for a Fringe event is 4, and that the base cost for self-producing here—and the Fringe is generally entirely comprised of self-produced events—is 7000 Scottish Pounds. That has to include the production itself, travel, lodging, publicity, and space rental. The Holy Grail: press coverage, and future bookings.
A very young couple performed what appeared to be an un-self conscious version of Pina Bausch—a young guy repeatedly threw a young girl against a mailbox; then they danced a slow-motion fistfight. 2 sisters in red showgirl outfits sang Mozart arias against a huge stone wall. There is a madness, courageousness, and desperation. This stuff requires mettle, resilience, and charm, and talent.
We have been referred to in the press as an “edgy” work (the “edge” keeps moving, right?). So are we, as “edgy” denizens of the “core” Festivities–essentially–the new “Fringe”, right? As in the new unexpected? We will have an audience, for sure, we don’t have to hit the streets to lure them in. But our jobs demand the same stuff as the street performers—we have to seduce the audience, the public, and the press. Our particular expectation is excellence, surprise, unexpected epiphany—on the “International” stage. Aren’t all epiphanies—by nature—unexpected?