Saint Aggie's '84

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

So many hours in one day…

I’ve spent the best part of this double day up in the sky. Sunny and about 3PM for the past seven hours or so. If only there could be this many hours in every day…then I could really get some work done. So far I’ve made writing notes on Saint Aggie’s ‘84, watched two movies, eaten three lunches, charted out much of “All The While” from Red Lips and chatted with my Afghani neighbour in between trips to the washroom…oh yes, and had a good discussion with David Barnet about the show. I’ll explain.

You’d think this flying alone thing would be a bit lonely but it really is a small world. On my flight from Edinburgh I ran into Jonathan Kawchuk’s family. Actually we met in the Edinburgh Airport before the flight and I had a good strong coffee at the coffee shop right by our gate (they all had tea). I lost track of them once we arrived at Heathrow where my leisurely three hour terminal transfer somehow became a 45 minute mad-dash due to delays out of Edinburgh followed by my favourite circling forever over London. Puffed out and relieved I stumbled onto my flight to Edmonton where, sitting at the seat immediately in front of me, was Mr. David Barnet who was returning to Canada not from Edinburgh but from Paris, among other places.

I spilled a few of the beans to him about my plans for what I might attempt in the plot of Saint Aggie’s and since our talk I’ve been thinking about it for the whole flight…even during the movies, and lunches, etc…

Looking down at Canada, Edinburgh already seems a little like a dream. I’ll let it remain a dream for a little while, but truthfully I’ll be back to work right away. I’ll keep you all in the loop and let you know what develops.

Don’ forget we’ll be recording on either the Sept 11 or 12.

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Final Show.

Well, it did have to happen at some point, and now it has…happened. The final performance of Saint Aggie’s ’84 has come and gone. Tomorrow I will be on my way home to Canada with some fond memories and a great sense of accomplishment…not to mention a little sadness, I suppose. We will be doing some recording in a week or two and there will be productions of Saint Aggie’s in the future, some might even involve some of the performers from this production, but the truth is that this incarnation of this play will never happen again…ever.

I’m not trying to be a downer, but it is the truth. It’s the one thing that I’ve never fully been able to get used to in my 20 years of working in this business, the fact that every time you do one of these things you come together as a group, share a common experience, become a family and then right in the middle of it all feeling really good, you go your separate ways. “You go this way, I’ll go that way”. You just never get used to it. That’s all there is to say.

Actually there is a lot more to say, but it’s late and I have an early flight. But just in case I didn’t say it before I would like to say, thank-you. Thanks to all of you for all of your hard work. It’s been a pleasure. Here are some shots from before and after tonight’s final show.

One exciting thing that happened today is that it looks like there may very well be an American premiere of Saint Aggie’s ’84 some time soon. It’s a little early to discuss the details but needless to say I am extremely excited about the possibility of an American run. I will keep everyone posted.

Time to get some sleep. I’ve got a lot of writing to do on the plane tomorrow.

Tuesday and the Festival Fringe

When I first looked at the Edinburgh Fringe Program a few months ago when it arrived in the mail, I have to say, I was overwhelmed. It’s a huge thick book with literally thousands of shows listed in it. You see Fringe venues listed up into the four hundreds. It’s ridiculous. Then you arrive here and you walk around this place and it’s even more overwhelming. There are tens of thousands of people in the streets who are here to see shows. They are rabid for shows. Not that they aren’t in Edmonton, but it’s just that there are so many more of them here. Don’t forget that Edinburgh is only half the size of Edmonton and they say that the festival brings in 500 000 people on any given night around the city.

And yes there is the street theatre going on everywhere (much like home) and there are crowds for that, but it’s the fact that all the indoor shows that I’ve been to are very well attended, there are cues everywhere, that makes this whole thing extra special.

Now I’ve said that the program was overwhelming, and it is. But one thing you don’t even realize when you see all of the 400+ venues listed in the program is that some of the venues actually have multiple theatres. And some of them have quite a few theatres. For instance, “C” is a venue. It is spread over six actual locations but it has nineteen performance spaces and 200 shows. That’s nearly as big as the Edmonton Fringe in one venue. And “C” is not even one of the big venues. Overwhelming!

So, I was waiting to see a new musical called “Edges” at the C Soco venue (#348) and who should I see coming out of their show in “C” venue 34, which is right next door, but some of the cast of “Saint Aggie’s ’84”.

One of them (it was Thomas Barnett) had on his new green pants.

I’ve photographed a couple of the other venues I’ve been to tonight. The first is the Roxy Art House (named so because it is on Roxburgh Street) which is on the way form “C” to my now favorite venue…

…the Pleasance Courtyard!

Here are some shots of the courtyard. It’s a wonderful place that houses about a dozen or so theatres. (Maybe more).

I was trying to decide what to see at around 10PM. This is just the program for The Pleasance Courtyard. There was quite a lot on. BTW I chose an Irish Comedian by the name of David O’Doherty. It was brilliant. So funny. Oh, yeah…one more thing. Pleasance has a whole other venue, the Pleasance Dome. It has eight more stages, I believe. Happy Fringing!!!

See you tomorrow!

Monday. Day Off.

I am posting this blog the night after writing it. For some reason when I’d finished writing last night it would not upload to wordpress. So hopefully it will work now – I guess if you are reading this then it did. Here is a view from where I’ve been writing these Edinburgh posts. Out the window beyond the nearby apartment buildings you can see Holyrood Park and the hill/mountain? known as Arthur’s Seat. I’m heading out for a run but here’s what I wrote last night.

“It is now the end of Monday. Actually, technically it’s very much into Tuesday here in Edinburgh. 12:56AM. Monday there was no performance of the show and the cast, crew and all the other members of the delegation went of to wander in the countryside and look at castles and the like. It was very wet here today (…er, yesterday) and the umbrella and raincoat that I packed have suddenly become very handy.

I’m so happy to see that so many people are starting to look at the blog. The numbers have actually doubled every day for the past three days. It’s quite astounding.

It’s been great to have a place to post photos and ramble on about things. Sadly I don’t have anything to post here tonight in the photo department…but hopefully tomorrow.

This evening the cast watched another AHSTF show written by Shel Silverstein that was (in my opinion) very surprising. I’m a big fan of the man and I had no idea that he wrote such crazy short (and perhaps off-colour) plays. I know that many in the cast were running around checking out shows around the city (as was I) and they will be doing the same tomorrow.”

Group Photo!

After the morning show today everyone posed for a group photo. Perhaps it would have been more appropriate to do the big group photo after the final show, but there were parents there who wanted the photo right then, and who knows what the weather will be like on Wednesday (this is Scotland), so it was probably a good idea.

Sunday Afternoon.

Well, we’re through three performances of Saint Aggie’s. One more to go. This morning’s run at 10:20 was really great. We had quite a big house as the cast of “Once On This Island” was there and they are a group of about 75.

There’s something about having a late night show followed by an early morning show that almost makes you feel like you’ve been cheated out of a performance. Of course, that’s not true, you haven’t been cheated (and I’m sure the cast of Saint Aggie’s is feeling pretty tired having performed the show twice in less than 12 hours). It’s just that there hasn’t been the time between shows to enjoy the accomplishment of performance…or the time to anticipate the next one. It’s almost like a two show day, just with a sleep in the middle. Of course that’s pretty easy for me to say as I’m just sitting in the audience watching.

The cast is really getting into the flow of the show now. It’s too bad it can’t run for weeks. Oh, well. One more show. Two days to anticipate this time. Quite the opposite of today.

Here are some shots from last night just before the Saturday night performance.

BTW…these slugs were on the wall beside the Church Street Theatre before we went in.

Live From the Church Hill Theatre

I’m writing this from the seats in the Church Hill Theatre. It  is Sunday morning at 10AM. The third performance is about to start. Gotta love the 3G mobile internet plugin that came with the apartment we are staying in. I’ve just realized that it will work anywhere…even if my iPhone won’t

Last night we had a spectacular run of the show. The cast, band and crew pulled together and put on the best performance of the show so far. It was fun to watch.

I’ll post some photos in a bit.