WHERE”S WRETCH LIKE ME?’ The Edinburgh Fringe is all about standing out in the crowd. With over two-thousand shows taking place in venues all over this city, and hundreds of thousands of posters, flyers, and handbills distributed during the Festival, any show that stands out can stand up and draw audiences.
After five years of developing ‘Wretch Like Me,’ a solid year of fundraising, several months of focused rehearsal and a dozen North Bay performances, followed by 20 days in Scotland and fourteen performances at the world famous Edinburgh Festival Fringe—this piece of the ‘Wretch Like Me’ story has now come to an end.
Team Wretch has returned to America (with the exception of Allo, who will remain in the UK for another couple of weeks to recover from Tonsilitis, and maybe get to travel a little).
So, how do I sum up the whole Edinburgh experience?
In the show, there is a line: “At times I didn’t know if I was dreaming or hallucinating.”
That, for me, totally sums up large portions of the Edinburgh experience. A definite ‘dream come true,’ the three weeks we spent together were a high-octane cocktail of super-powered adrenaline, heart-racing excitement, bone-deep exhaustion mixed with a sense of extended roller-coaster overdrive, moments of stunning awe and beauty, and a few moments oaf artistic high-wire walking that will eventually rank, I am sure, as some of the proudest moments of my life.
SURGEONS HALL – Down this pathway is the the little complex of four theaters, one of which was our host and home for fourteen performances (note the ‘Wretch’ banner in the foreground; we put that up some mornings while handing out flyers to passersby on the street before showtime).
Rather than write several thousand years recapping and describing the experience, I will let pictures do what pictures do, and (with the help of some hopefully pithy caption-writing) allow these images to give a sense of what Team Wretch did, saw, and accomplished during its time in the gorgeous, magical, seriously and joyously demented city of Edinburgh.
THE ASSEMBLY ROOMS – This jaw-droppingly awe-inspiring historic building is just one of many spectacular (and some not so spectacular) venues in town that features theater, music and comedy during the three-week long festival.
GREYFRIARS BOBBY—this statue (rumored to be the most photographed object in Edinburgh) commemorates a dog who, in the 1800’s, stood vigil for years on his dead master’s grave in the nearby Greyfriar’s Church cemetery. Bobby is buried in that same graveyard, not far from the grave he made his home.
FALKIRK — In the little town of Falkirk (a 20 minute train ride from Edinburgh), where Team Wretch stayed for its final week in Scotland, there are monuments on nearly every downtown corner.
SCOTLAND ROCKS — Above Holyrood Park (not far from the palace where the Queen stays when she’s in town) is a gorgeous walking trail past some mysterious rocks and spectacular views of the city.
WAVERLY STATION — Just down the street from The surgeons Hall (where ‘Wretch Like Me’ held its run), is the train station, where thousands of folks convene every day riding to and from Edinburgh. It’s a massive station, and a fascinating mix of modern technology and historic charm.
THE HALF-PRICE HUT — Another VERY busy spot in town, the HPH is where audience members line-up by the hundreds to get deals on that day’s discounted shows. Here, in a shot taken just before the hut officially opens, the screen in blank. In a few minutes, it will list all of the shows offering half-price tickets.
FOR EXAMPLE – Check out the show listed at the bottom of the screen.
THE FESTIVAL WHEEL – This Ferris Wheel towers above Prince Street Gardens, not far from the Fringe’s ‘Half-Price Hut.’ Each self-enclosed car can seat about six-to-eight people.
THE UNDERBELLY — Behind this wall covered with enormous posters for festival shows (We gave in and went to see ‘Shit-faced Shakespeare, partially because of the poster on the right), there rises as massive purple tent in the shape of an upside down cow. Housing one of the local ‘Underbelly’ performance spaces, this purple cow is just one of many weird things on display during festival season.
RUN-OF-THE-MILL—There is nothing special about this building, which houses and apartments at the top and retail spaces at the bottom. And that’s what’s so special about it. In Edinburgh, everything is so gorgeous that even something as beautiful, old, and striking as this become just another beautiful, old, striking thing to look at.
FRINGE CENTRAL – A space at the University of Edinburgh where performers and participants can meet, hang out, use the copier, grab a snack, and even take a meditation class if they like. In the foreground are team members of various shows printing and clipping bits of reviews to their postcards.
HOLYROOD PALACE – A vie wot the Queen’s residence from high up above Holyrood Park.
THE INVISIBLE MAN — One of many regulars along the Royal Mile, this ingenious busker collects coins from passing photographers. Other regulars along the mile include a guy dressed as the Predator (from the sci-fi movies), a fellow impersonating a statue of a Roman, a man standing still but attired as if he were in a windstorm (his coat and tie permanently blown up in the air), and others I’ve now forgotten. hey, there are a LOT of these guys out there. And a lot of them are kind of weird. But Weird stuff pops up everywhere in Edinburgh. Speaking of which . . .
PARLIAMENT – The Scottish Parliament is a rare modern building in town, and it is REALLY modern. This sidewalk mural runs along one edge of the massive complex, and includes a series of Scottish quotes mixed in around some ancient Scottish stones jutting out (far right), which are arranged from top to bottom according to geologic age. This is a VERY science-friendly town.
CARVED IN STONE — This is one of many quotes on display along the walkway on one edge of the Scottish Parliament complex.
BETWEEN STORMS — These picnickers are enjoying some sun between rainstorms, overlooking the Grassmarket area of Edinburgh. What you can’t see is what stands just above them (to the back of the photographer), which is Edinburgh Castle. Not a bad place for a picnic.
AND HERE IT IS – Edinburgh Castle (or one close-up of one tower of it). There is always something interesting and amazing to look at during the festival, and that’s not even counting the shows themselves. Check back soon for a full update on what goes on on-stage at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (and how ‘Wretch Like Me’ was received by audience members and critics)