Saint Aggie's '84

The history of a new musical as it comes to be…

Saint Aggie’s Opens in Edinburgh

First of all, how is this place even possible? There is magic here. Sorry if that sounds cheesy but, I mean, who puts a castle that looks like that up on a rocky hill…and then shines the sunlight down on it in that way? It’s perfect. It’s like a Disney set it’s so perfect.

And so, what a setting in which to be setting off to see the opening performance of a show that you’ve been writing for the better part of a year. It’s too difficult to describe the mix of confusing emotions, and although they are mostly good, I think I’ll just stick to the facts. That’s what a good playwright would do…I think.

I hop onto the number 16 bus in front of the National Gallery on Princes Street. At least I think it is the number 16 bus but, you see, I don’t realize that it is, in fact, the number 26 bus…and it is not until I’ve gone several miles before I realize that I am in a completely different part of the city than I should be. What happens next is long and boring so I won’t go into it but, needless to say, I was tired and sore, and quite a bit sweatier than I’ve been since arriving in Scotland when, eventually, I made it to the Church Hill Theatre.

We were let in a few minutes early which is good because there was a lot to set up and never having done the set up at speed before, made the whole procedure a little tight. Finally we got it together and the audience was about to be let in. I snapped a few shots just before the doors opened…but I didn’t have time for many.

The show went very well, especially considering that it hadn’t been run (with the exception of an Italian run yesterday) in over a week. The band sounded tight and despite a few minor technical difficulties and a few relatively insubstantial spacing issues in some numbers, the whole thing looked and sounded really, really good. It would be nice if we could get the soloist mics up a little louder, but I’m sure issues like that will be resolved at the next show. Great work everyone!

Everyone headed off on the bus and I stayed and watched a high school production of “The Drowsy Chaperone” from Toronto at the Church Hill which was very good. Later I took in “Songs From A New World”, another strong high school production which was from Providence Rhode Island. That makes it two Jason Robert Brown musicals in less than 24 hours. Crazy. Earlier today I saw a new musical in development called “Closest To The Moon” which is the best thing I’ve seen at the Fringe so far. This production was put on by the Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Looks like a very good school. I’m going to see another new musical they are working on tomorrow morning called “In Touch”. Next week I’m hoping to get a ticket for their production of Spring Awakening.

Walked back home along the Mile tonight on my own. It’s a place where you can see anything: a man carried on a board who is covered in canned food (beans, ravioli, corn, etc…), someone wearing only the posters for their show…and this man…the worst busker in Scotland. The police came and asked him to move along, but he did have a busking license and he told them his act was that sometimes he plays the guitar and sometimes he sleeps. I witnessed this scene earlier when I was having dinner on the street with my mother and my Aunt Carol…and he does, in fact, pretend to play the guitar sometimes. He was, however, still in this position when I returned three hours later. The good news is he was still getting some money in the bucket.

Thankfully, not all on the Mile is as pathetic as this poor soul. There is, as I stated earlier, a lot of magic in Edinburgh. There was an amazing moment just before I jumped into a taxi where literally 500 or a thousand people started singing the Bob Marley classic “Everything Is Gonna Be Alright”. It was wonderful. Just another incredible, unbelievable Edinburgh moment.

How is this place even possible?

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