Tales From... The Archive

Surviving the Fringe (part 1)

It’s a week before the Edinburgh Festival and the excitement is tangible and by excitement I do mean nausea and by nausea I do mean hysteria and by hysteria I do mean I’M FREAKING OUT! Still us creative types are nothing if not dramatic and I like to make a month doing what I love at the largest international arts Festival in the world an opportunity to have a breakdown.

I’m not saying every performer will be having a melt down, because of course there are those fresh-faced types who’ve never been to the Fringe before. Ah, look at their naïve, upbeat, positive faces! If only they knew what the rest of us know, which is by the end of week two they’ll be injecting caffeine directly into their own eyeballs, faking their own deaths to avoid flyering and drinking neat whiskey with their cornflakes after Googling themselves only to find a blog/review claiming that their show is, “….About as funny as a Chinese burn to the face …” I know what you’re thinking and for your information I’m not talking from experience! (At least I’ve never injected anything directly into my eyeballs.)

I realise I have nothing to moan about, it’s not like I have a proper job or even an important job and 11 months of the year I’m a pretty stable person (I’m not.) But there’s something about heading to the Fringe that makes me lose perspective. Every day is a different mixture of emotions: there’s excitement and dread, suppressed adrenalin and dread and…well…just dread. Of course I need to lighten up after all I’ve spent the last 6-9 months writing, rehearsing and honing this show. What could possibly go wrong? Don’t answer that.

So, in an attempt to chill out before the Fringe I have decided to take some responsibility and look after myself. For example: I have just started a 7 day juice diet where you replace food with three healthy juices a day, I’ve started yoga three times a week to help me become more centered and lastly I am going for a massage to work out all the tension in my muscles. All three of these healthy options I have planned to do in my head since April, unfortunately they have remained in my head. Still this seventh cup of coffee is going down a treat.

You’re probably wondering if it’s this stressful Brister, why do you go? Well aside from the fact we’re all needy show offs desperate for the positive affirmation of half a dozen people sat in a darkened room, there is still that slim chance that someone might notice you. When I say ‘someone’ I don’t mean that random bloke in the Pleasance Courtyard who’s using your flyer to pick that ‘well hung’ burger’ from between his teeth. No, I mean press, that ambitious 12 year old TV producer or that agent I’ve, I mean you’ve been pursuing since you started comedy. What if they FINALLY come to my, I mean your show and love it! What if?

Whatever happens over the next 4 weeks one thing I am excited about is performing my show. Whether there be 6 or 60 of you, there is no bigger rush than having an audience who has paid their hard earned cash to see you. But, until opening night, I am going to continue in the only way I know how and that is neurotic, highly-strung and incredibly needy. I think it’s the healthiest option.

Posted on 29th July 2012


Hey Jen how did your gigs go at the fringe festival?

I missed it this year (plus I never knew who you were until I watched some clips of you online tonight anyway!). When are you coming back to Scotland?

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