"This isn't a vacation. This isn't being a tourist. AHSTF is about taking young people and giving them the experience of what it means to be a working artist. From the difficulty of raising money to figuring out how to work in a crazy space, to seeing and growing through watching other artists work--this is what artists do."
The above was said by the theater company guy (Matt) who is in charge of helping us with the technical aspects of mounting our show. Now, we're lucky in that they also let us have a few purely tourist days in order to understand Scotland as a country and gain a broader perspective of where we're producing our work, but it's important to rememberthat we aren't just visiting the Fringe; we're a part of it.
So often the general public thinks of being a working artist as being a star. The truth is, there are hundreds of thousands of people across the globe, unknown outside their region, who are making decent careers as artists.
Many of the actors and technicians at the Fringe are also young. They are in University or have just graduated. There's so much to learn from kids just a few steps ahead on their path. What was it about the cast of "The Dutchess of Malfi" that made them so good? They were not only really listening and responding to every word their scene partners were saying, but they were not missing words and thoughts in their lines. They were not taking a "here I'm mad and talking about fish for a paragraph so I'll sound mad' approach; they were directly on top of each thought. (John Webster writes a lot like Shakespeare, so you can imagine how many thoughts that means.) Even more importantly, they were comfortable in their bodies so that their physicality and thoughts were onnected; they weren't wasing time and energy freaking out about what to do with their hands or moving awkwardly or stiffly holding their arms out and full of tension. You'll get there, but it will go faster if you can figure out what actors at the next step are capable of. (Fortunately for us, we've got actors in VTA who are several steps ahead that we can watch and learn from too!)
As overwhelming as the Fringe can be, it's also exciting beyond all measure. I learned a lot about the theatrical contract and the importance of the first 30 seconds of a play and so much more. I saw a show I was blown away by intellectually that is difficult to even describe because it was so complex and ambitious.
In short, I saw theater that made me want to make theater...so you'd better have your lines down cold by September because I'm planning to treat you like the capable young artists I know you can be.