So the last two days have been a game of two halves, lurching from one extreme to the other and learning alot about this experience and all those taking part.
Yesterday we had no-one to play to.
So is a play still a play if there's no audience?
Well there was no play. To be honest following the car-crash improv fest from the previous day, having lost a performer, a rest day was needed and so, as if the Fringe Gods had heard us we were given a day off. It might not have been every company's response to being told we had no audience but ours was to cheer!!
So, we pootled off, we rested, we found new shows to squeeze in and came together this morning raring to go......
This morning, the energy from the cast was flat, to say the least and so it occurred to me that alongside all the preparation, excitement and desire to perform that the Fringe experience needs, what we actually survive on is adrenalin.
Which is a dangerous game. Now, adrenalin can be a wonderful thing, kicking in to give us the extra bit of zing, that rush of energy we need, the natural caffeine of life to get us through those challenging moments and inspire onto the next. Some people crave it, become addicted, but all of us need it from time to time.
And we needed it yesterday. Because Fringe life is like a ride. The pre show build, whether you are flyering or prepping is the climb towards the top, the bit that you both fear and crave. The performance is the rush, the loop the loop, the gratification, the success and then the post show drop, the calm, the boring bit when you have to get off and join the queue again.
Except yesterday there was no ride and although the cast were tired and wanted a break, without the adrenalin of the ride, they had joined the queue, made the climb and then arrived at the boring bit when you have to get off. How disappointing.
So today it was my job to not only get them to the theme park but make them excited about the ride ALL OVER AGAIN.
And so I did, with the help of Falafel Dave and a crinkly green poncho
and they did
and there it was - the adrenalin, the spark that took them into the rest of their day with a little extra zing. It's a dangerous game, the adrenalin chase and it makes me grateful for the fact that this is a short experience for these young people.
It's a wonderful experience too but god knows how people manage an entire Fringe run because I AM EXHAUSTED. Not because of the walking or the get ins and get outs or the rushing from venue to venue but because of the ride that we embark on each day. The rush and the gratification, the wait and the end, then do it all again.
And again. And again.
On our very first day of rehearsals I sat down with my young company and talked about the Fringe and told them that the challenges would not be the performing each day, or the rapid get outs, the walking or finding their way but the greatest challenge would be to navigate their own emotional and mental journey through the Fringe. To be able to recognise what they need to help themselves feel well. That's quite a big ask in your teens. But I hope this experience will have helped them see the ride for what it is and know when to buckle up and when to let go.
Tomorrow is our last day, our final performance - for which we have sold out, pretty much, which is the craziness of Fringe - the Curve - from Zero to Hero in two days. And that will be the end of our ride for this year.
The company that have joined me this year have been a blessing to work with and a joy to watch. Each one of them contributes a different and excellent energy to the group and they are brilliant young people.
To come and see our final Ed Fringe show pop down to Greenside Infirmary Street at 11.30am or visit our website to learn more about what we do and how to get involved!