Edinburgh Fringe Festival: Reality Mirrors Art

Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Day 4: 18th August

You very quickly get into a kind of groove during the Fringe, with it seeming like this has always been your life. The routine and timings of setting up and flyering are comforting, and I’m enjoying getting to know a few of the performers. Interestingly, the ‘all in this together’ feel I’d hoped for hasn’t totally happened. There are a few people who I’m really getting on with, but in general a lot of the people here seem very self-contained, focusing on their show and their group rather than the venue as a whole. I think that that is a real shame as if we promoted each other more, really pushing the venue rather than focusing solely on individual shows, I do believe we would all do much better.

After trying my best to flyer I went off to meet up with a few friends and go and watch David Narayan’s The Psychic Project. It was great. I’ve been lucky enough to see highlights as he was good enough to perform at Magical Mischief with me back in February, but this is how his show is supposed to be seen. Playing to a venue that was standing room only, he led his audience into a world where science and pseudo-science blur; the psychic cold war. Based on real experiments, it was thrilling, interesting, and very, very clever. I found myself comparing it to the séance from two nights before. Both shows based around way’s that rational people of the time tried to understand and measure the unquantifiable.

Tonight’s show was my best turn out yet. A few friends who regularly come to the fringe were there, as well as a few performers from the venue. As I finished I recognised a look in the eye of one of the audience. Quickly thanking people and ushering all of them out except her, I closed the door. I asked her if she needed the room to herself and tearfully she shook her head and began talking to me about some of the challenges she’s facing in her life. Over the course of ten minutes I was able to give her the space she needed to express how she felt, as well as her thoughts about my piece. It ended with her hugging me and thanking me for the honesty of my show. No, I don’t think I’ve made her life all better, but it was a real privilege to have touched her, and to be able to have shared that moment.

David, not looking sinister...

David, not looking sinister...

During my show I talk about the bystander effect. Heading off for a meal I was reminded of it again as I walked past a woman sitting on some steps clearly in distress. Staring blankly at her flip phone, I asked if she was okay. Her fiancée had just been taken to hospital and she didn’t know Edinburgh. Not only that but she had no money on her and she just needed to find her way there. She asked me if I knew the way, and a google search later I had located it. 3 miles. She said she would walk it but I was already checking on busses. Again, complex. So I just put her in a taxi, paid the driver and sent her off. The look of gratitude in her eyes as she stared out of the rear window at me seemed far too easily earned. I don’t really believe in karma or anything like that, but I am glad I was able to do something nice for someone who, for just a moment, needed the kindness of a stranger.


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.


Paul ReganComment