Fun At The Fringe
I have been having a FANTASTIC time here at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2019 once again.
For those of you who haven’t been following along, I am part of a theatre company based in Melbourne, Australia, where I live called nuworks Theatre.
Last year in 2018 we made an epic journey to Scotland to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. We won the Best Overseas Show Award last year, so we thought that we’d come back and try our luck again this year in 2019.
We have been performing every day. We have been getting some wonderful reviews and meeting some wonderful people !
As a group we have grown and learnt a lot about performing.
Being surrounded by talented musicians and actors (and some not so talented!) from all over the world has again been a wonderful experience.
Being surrounded by my incredibly clever, talented and passionate fellow cast members of nuworks Theatre has been a blessing and a(nother) once in a life time opportunity.
Individually and collectively we have seen some amazing shows…..and some amazingly terrible shows, which is all part of the fun ! And therein lies the only “downside” of the Fringe: as Forest Gump’s mother once said, “The Shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival are like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get“. On the whole, they have been really good.
We have seen the sights and further explored Edinburgh. We almost feel like locals now and can find our way through the madness and throngs of people who invade Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival.
I have even had the chance to explore some castles and palaces – Stirling Castle and Linlithgow Palace were amazing !
I met and got to talk to some weird and wonderful people. I was interviewed for podcasts and youtube channels, chatted with locals and foreigners and got asked for directions more times than perhaps I should have, given that I am an Australian foreigner at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival too.
Personally I have taken the opportunity to play my saxophone with whom ever will have me.
I met an amazing Scottish guitarist by the name of DaveBeMac who was open to the idea of playing a song or two with a strange Australian saxophonist. Not only is Dave a super nice guy but his guitar loops and musicianship are a thing of awe and beauty. Thanks heaps Dave 🙂
Another member of our merry little band of thespians from nuworks – Mark Howard – happens to be an incredible singer and guitarist. I have been fortunate to tour with Mark a few times now and we have been in quite a few shows together over the last few years. So on this trip Mark and I went out together several times to various pubs and clubs and open mic nights around Edinburgh and used our musical skills and confident Australian-ness for both Good and Evil.
Mark and I talked our way into bashing out a few unrehearsed and spontaneous songs at several venues on several occasions. We played together and separately and we actually made some very impressive sounds in public, even if I do say so myself !
The point I am trying to make here is that music – and playing saxophone in particular – is great fun !
It opens doors and gives opportunities to meet new people, play new sounds and songs and styles, and have adventures.
“G’day, my name is Matthew from Australia. Can I join in please ?”
Being able to spontaneously say something along the lines of, “G’day, my name is Matthew from Australia. Can I join in please ?” while holding my saxophone is a wonderful way to start to make some music.
Yes, I got knocked back – a couple of times actually.
There was this French bass player who was doing some incredible loops and his songs were great. I asked him if I could join in and he said in an unfortunately and stereo-typically arrogant French way, “Ah do not want to play with yeaur. Yeaur are a foreign person ! Ah do not know yeaur !!! Ah am playing now. Go away you foreign person !“
It was hilarious, almost Monty Python-esque ! I laughed out loud, which made him angry, which made me laugh even more as I walked away….all part of the fun at the Fringe.
Others that I asked to play with were pleased to be asked – some said yes and some said no, which is entirely fair enough.
The combination of playing in the show with the cast of nuworks – That Bastard Brecht – in the early evening every day for almost three weeks, plus various spontaneous musical moments at all times of the day and night, meant that my saxophone hardly ever cooled down.
I am lucky on the one hand.
I can play pretty much what I hear in my head and adapt to what is happening around me from a musical perspective.
This means that I can play something….now ! I like what I play and like how my fingers move and how my saxophone(s) sound.
But, on the other hand, I have worked and practised hard over a period of many years (decades) to get to this point.
I have gone out of my way to be in the right place at the right time to be able to jump up and play my saxophone – on my own or as part of a group: the current examples being this trip to Edinburgh, the shows we did, the busking, the pubs, the bands, the people I was hanging out with.
And we won another award this year too – Best Play / Musical for That Bastard Brecht !
Music makes me happy.
I am heading home to Melbourne soon, stopping for a couple of days in Guangzhou, China, purely to eat local Chinese food. And to allow for some time zone adjustment to help with the jet lag.
When I get home, I will keep playing my saxophone and keep going out of my way to make more musical “luck” appear before me.
There will probably be a new nuworks musical theatre show that might just need my saxophone sooner rather than later. There will be some more bands and performances and saxophone students to play with too.
I hope you keep playing your saxophone too, because I know that I will be !
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