ED2012 COLUMN: Rob Castell from Barbershopera writes us a Fringe Blog.
Ah yes. ’All for one and one for all’. The great mantra of the Fringe. Oh no hang on. ’Every man for himself’. That’s it.
They seem similar. I get confused, so alike are the endeavours of the great musketeers and those of Edinburgh Festival performers, I’m not always sure what’s real and what’s nothing more than heroic fantasy.
A good Festival performer always conducts himself with honour and valour, never simply pasting his poster atop someone else’s, or flyering a captive crowd defencelessly queuing for a show in a rival venue… No, no. This won’t do. As would a musketeer bow to his enemy and show respect for his opponent, so too must a Festival performer look with warmth and stoicism on the smug-laden two-starred reportage of his show, shrugging off the intoxicating impulse for an immediate duel.
A musketeer must see through a mission to its end – Dumas would have had no novel to speak of if Athos, Porthos, Aramis and D’Artagnan simply gave up halfway through their swashbuckling adventure just because morale was a bit low in the second week. And so it is, when faced with the prospect of another miserable day on the Royal Mile dressed in green spandex with flyers protruding hilariously from the lining of a Victorian bonnet, a Festival performer must stay focused on the task in hand. For it is in the darkest hours when we truly find ourselves – as M People wisely told, “search for the musketeer inside yourself”.
Why does a musketeer fight? Why does a Festival performer perform? The answer is the same for both – in order to be remembered. Much has changed since the 17th century but the fundamentals remain – and now more than ever we find ourselves overwhelmed by our own insignificance to the point of crippling anxiety. Not so with the musketeers, whose deeds and daring ensured that the eternal flame of recognition would indeed burn for them.
So think on, noble Festival performer, for in years to come when the world is even more complicated and the works of Alexandre Dumas are only available on a smartpodikindlepad, people will still gather to hear stories of an old city where troupes of creative heroes once met to sing, dance, make merry and desperately seek adoration for their over-priced indulgences.
‘Every man for himself’. Maybe that’s a bit harsh. We all want to be remembered, but whatever the outcome of August 2012… at least we’re all in it together. All for one and one for all!
‘Barbershopera: The Three Musketeers’ was performed at the Pleasance Courtyard at Fringe 2012.