Sunday, September 03, 2006

Scotland: The Fringe


It was amusing that our visit to Edinburgh coincided with the Edinburgh Festival, also known as "The Fringe" (not to be confused with the Fridge).

The Fringe started when eight theatre companies turned up uninvited to the first year of the Edinburgh International Festival in 1947. They aimed to take advantage of the large theatre crowds and showcase their own, more alternative, theatre.

The Fringe is so called after Robert Kemp, a Scottish journalist, wrote during the second Edinburgh International Festival in 1948: ‘Round the fringe of official Festival drama, there seems to be more private enterprise than before … I am afraid some of us are not going to be at home during the evenings!’. He was describing those groups who were putting on performances that were not part of the "official festival".

A theatre about gang wars and poverty in London (I think), the guy with the cane on the left-most of the picture very convincingly played a mad guy. He wobbled madly along the high street handing leaflets to advertise their play.
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True to the above paragraphs I cut-and-pasted from Wikipedia, we were extremely astonished to find the High Street littered with acting, singing and dancing theatre performers. Truth be told, we were expecting a serene, quite weekend where we could visit all the monuments and important places in peace.

Thankfully, the performers were indeed very talented we found ourselves joining the massive crowds to watch the show.

Although looking like pop-idol wannabes, the ladies in the picture above were (surprisingly, to me) very222 good opera singers. I was indeed impressed, coming from their unseeming, slight figures were melodious tunes, projecting far without any microphones.

This Japanese performer were one of our favourites. He wore elegant clothes and stole the show with his humour and wit. He would funnily act as if scared to do his acrobatic performances. Even Amar clapped!
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These guys were forming a human pyramid, it was (unintentionally) funny because in the end, they were short of people to complete the formation.
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True to Robert Kemp's statement above, they were many unofficial performers around the fringe of the festival. The collage above shows (from left to right):
  1. a lady playing a Chinese violin, gathering large crowds with her skill.
  2. this kid seem barely 10, but played the violin really222 well.
  3. I took a picture of this Korean doll performer, but I didn't realise she posed for me until I uploaded the picture to my PC. A pleasant surprise.
  4. This clown was Amar's favourite. He would stay still as a statue until someone puts money, and he was making squeeky sounds that Amar loved.

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All the performers in the three pictures above are, I'm not sure what they're called, is it mimes? Anyway, they would stay still as statues and move only when people donate money. Sarah, Amar, Emyr and Safiya were most entertained.

Our favourite, was undoubtedly this guy. We queued for his performance twice (not to mention he gave Sarah a special performance when Sarah cried, scared of the puppet). When people donated enough money, this guy would activate an iPod, connected to a pair of small speakers. In tune with the operatic music, he would make the puppet play a violin and sing making grand, sweeping gestures. This guy gathered large crowds too.

So, our serendipitous visit to Scotland was further enriched by this cultural event (it was infact multi-cultural, as they were performers from Africa, China, Korea, Japan and aborigines). If you are planning to visit Edinburgh during this festival which runs for three weeks in August-September, be warned that the crowds, traffic and queues are massive, unless you are visiting mainly to see the events.

2 comments:

fm said...

MasyaAllah..itu ker Golden Mermaid? tutup aurat lagi (African Muslimah?)..bagus A.De n Sarah bagi dia duit banyak2...tabarakallah

mynn: saya bukan seorang pharmacologist, pernah kerja kat kedai farmasi je, itu yg tau sikit2 pasal antiemetic/antiH
:-D ...n that Novomin (or Novamin) i suggested might not be found in wikipedia or www..sebab product Xepa-Soul, Melaka.

mynn said...

FM
ha-ah, tu lah golden mermaid yang sarah suka sangat tengok.

actually, she was scared and would scour & cry everytime the actors would move. she wouldn't buldge an inch to give these people money.

i really thought you were a pharmacologist, whoops, my bad.