Edinbugh Fringe Festival: Getting into the Groove
The first person I bumped into when I got here was Niamh Watson. Obviously she was trying to flyer me, and being new to Edinburgh I instantly promised to come and seeing her perform, and being not yet utterly jaded today I did. It was well worth the effort. Her piece, Pulp Fiction: The One Woman Play, is an hour long retelling of selected moments from the movie Pulp Fiction. I’ll not bore you with exactly what’s going on, but it’s a funny, interesting piece that should appeal greatly to the many of us who cut our cinematic taste teeth on Tarintino growing up. After that it was off to see Sofie Hagen to perform. It was a long walk (everywhere is a long walk from this venue) but I thought it would be worth it. I was desperately wrong. No fault of her’s, there was just no room left. Still resented the hell out of her for it though. I then went on a very long walk back.
I had learned earlier that the person who had flyered for me the day before was not available, and so I would have to do the job myself. It’s tough, and I think the hardest bit about doing the Fringe alone. The grim spirit de corpse that arises when flyering with your group, or your partner, or even sound technician, is a bond I’m seeing time and time again in the people all around me. Meanwhile I trudge along, trying to give out flyers to people who really don’t care. However, I think I’ve found an answer. The Wee Blue Book, something I – as a Free Fringer – am obligated to give out anyway, is a genuinely useful guide to what’s on around the city from all the PBH acts. I’ve seen plenty of other people giving them out, but I noticed something very interesting:
When you flyer, you generally hold your ‘stock’ in one hand and distribute with the other. Every act I’ve seen flyering with the Wee Blue Buck as well have had them stacked under their flyers. That makes sense. They are there to promote their show, that’s the priority. The book is the extra. I started like this myself. However, I believe that people will be more interested in the guide than any one act. So I changed emphasis. Instead of offering my flyer, I started offering the book. People immediately became more responsive. I would then give them my flyer too, almost as an afterthought. If they had taken the book, they also took my flyer. And because we were now having a conversation they would ask me about my act. This gives me a chance to sell it to them a bit. With this new approach, I’m feeling a little better about flyering from now on.
This evening my show was amazingly under attended, with only two people coming in moments before start time. There was a mix of reasons for this, none of which really concern me. If you are coming to Edinburgh to make money you’re loopy. I just want to work on an act that means something to me and, hopefully, to my audience too. Tonight I had the best show of my life. Three of us explored ideas around mental health and learning disability. The intimacy of the tricks was vital to that. As they left I felt privileged as one said to her friend ‘that was the most amazing experience of my life’. It’s just a shame they only had credit cards…
Paul's Edinburgh Fringe show “Illusions of Depression” will be showing at Tollbooth Market, Gladstone’s Court, EH8 8BN from the 15th August to the 25th August.