Edinburgh days 2, 3, and 4
I'm still aghast at the gorgeousness of this city, my enthusiasm remarkably untempered by the persistent cold and rain. (think, um, mid March in NY, maybe?)
Wednesdays festival offerings:
1) KRAPP'S LAST TAPE - one of my favorite Beckett texts, performed in a very inspiring and moving way by Peter Dineen. Dineen is a very accomplished Irish actor and I had the pleasure of chatting with him for a little while after the performance. He may be headed for NY in the not-too-distant future.
2) THE ALUMINUM SHOW
Carpetbag Brigade's YOU DON'T KNOW JACK
1) Fishmable's FORGOTTEN - awesome performance of a very touching series of stories handled quite artfully
2) RUHE (not in the Fringe, but in the Edinburgh International Festival) - what a mysterious thing. It's a performance that counterposes Schubert songs, sung immaculately by a 12-member male choir, with testimony taken in the 1960s from two Dutch nationals who voluntarily joined Nazi ranks during World War II.
That's all rather straightforward - the music is beautiful and adeptly performed. The testimony is obscure and compelling, the subjects peculiar in their apparent lack of remorse.
The real mystery is the aesthetic project of the piece itself. What the heck are they doing? Structurally, it's incredibly simple. There is little relationship between the actors - who are both convincing and very connected to the audience (though I had trouble hearing the first one and they're both mic-ed, which disappointed me a little and led to some strange variations in volume) - and the singers. There is little direct relationship between the songs and the monologues. It all feels rather informal - the audience and the singers are seated in a kind of circular arrangement in mismatched chairs - as if we're at a meeting in a community hall. Which, in a sense, we are because what we're watching is distinctly not theatrical. At least the event that we're all there ostensibly to see is not theatrical on the surface of things. But there's an awful lot of stuff going on outside and underneath (quite literally, since the singers stand on chairs when they're on) the singing and the monologuing that's just as engaging and just as much a part of what's happening - if not more. You cannot help watching your fellow audience members shift and squirm and nod off and look at their watches and mouth along with the Schubert and stare and crinkle their brows.
I can't say that I enjoyed the performance much end, but it certainly made me think and induced a certain eagerness to discuss it with others (and so I chatted for quite a while with a venue steward who had seen it). And it raises questions for me about art and performance and what is required for those things to be made. And what I expect when I go to a big international arts festival. And, like, what the heck those dudes were wearing (some of them plaid workshirts, some of them trendy hoodies, some of them crisp collared shirts) - clearly, costume design was not an aesthetic priority in the making of this production.
In other news, I love the Edinburgh Leisure Council's Commonwealth Pool Gym. That's where I work out and practice the beginning bits of the D Hay solo every day. It looks like this:
The pool (and, I assume, accompanying fitness center) was built in 1967. I don't think they've changed much of anything since then.