Psst. You. Yeah, you. With the face. C’mere. I need to tell you a secret. Now, you can’t tell anyone this, it would ruin me. No-one would ever take me seriously as an actor again, I’d be a total laughing stock. Don’t tell your friends, don’t tell your mother, and definitely don’t post it up on the internet. Capiche?
Ok. Here goes. I have… I have never been to the Edinburgh Fringe. THERE I SAID IT.
I know, I know, I’m an actor, a theatre actor, a theatre actor at the beginning of her career, a theatre actor at the beginning of her career who keeps bleating that she never sees enough theatre. I should be all over that scene like pigeon crap on a statue. But ever since I’ve become aware of this magical few weeks every year, when a beautiful old city in Scotland turns into a mental singles night for actors, directors, producers, reviewers, theatregoers and penis puppeteers, there has always been some reason (excuse) not to go.
Three guesses what reason (excuse) number one is. Ding ding ding! It’s too expensive. My friend found return coach tickets for £60, but that’s before you find somewhere to sleep and feed yourself and actually go to see some shows. I’d be doing dances for money on the Royal Mile just to buy a bag of chips. A handy answer for this is to get yourself into a show that is going to Edinburgh, and then at least you’ll get driven up there and a bed to sleep in, unless you’re being horribly, horribly exploited. Another handy answer is to just stop being so tight and live a little, there will always be more bar work.
I was offered an audition this year for Shit-faced Shakespeare, by a company which sells out its venue in Edinburgh every year by putting on a full-scale Shakespeare play in which one member of the cast each night is blind drunk. I know. It sounds UTTERLY awesome [Ed’s note: it is]. But it would have clashed with the show I was already involved in, so there went my first opportunity to go to Edinburgh with a show. And here pops up another reason (excuse) I’ve had not to go yet: previous commitments. Actors can’t really decide to have summer holidays; you can’t just turn down work because you fancy Edinburgh this year. Well, OK, you probably could, but for me and my overactive career-guilt gland it would make every leaflet thrust into my hand a proclamation of this missed work opportunity, and every interval ice cream taste of shame. Perhaps I need a break.
OK FINE I’ll go next year. Promise. I’ll stop whining about the money, I’ll try to keep at least a few days free, and I’ll do anything I can to get myself into an Edinburgh show, be it Shit-faced Shakespeare or Pol Pot – The Musical!. I can’t put it off any longer or someday someone will find out, cancel my Equity membership, rip up my drama school certificate, burn my copy of An Actor Prepares and send me to work in a call centre. I will be blacklisted by agents, my headshots stuck up and defaced in the Old Vic bar, and someone will come and destroy all my scarves. My name will be changed and I will sell leisurewear over the phone, forever. They must never know.
Phew, it really feels great to get that off my chest. And I just know I can trust you not to tell anyone. Right?
Photo by Flickr user Alastair 2008 under a Creative Commons Licence.