Tuesday 21 August 2012 | By Lynn Ruth Miller
Lynn’s Letter To Edinburgh: See the city and try a few new twists
A broken foot meant Lynn Ruth Miller didn’t make it to the Fringe this year, but she has still been sharing her wisdom with performers via the pages of ThreeWeeks.
I have to say, the third week of the festival is my favourite. The hard work is over. Any reviews you get are gravy. You can use these last several days to have the best time ever with the most creative people in the world. This is the time to do a bit of sight seeing: check out the castle and do one of the wonderful ghost tours. You will discover all the tiny little streets that wind in and out of the major thoroughfares and relive a bit of Scottish history. And no visit to Scotland is complete for me without visiting the Botanical Gardens. They always have a lovely exhibit and a delightful tea room, but the gardens…ah, the gardens. There are none in the whole world more beautiful to me.
Then visit Dean Village, which is just off Princes Street and is a beautiful place to explore. And not far from there is the Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art with its spectacular grounds. Of all the museums, this one is my favourite. The collection is superb. My dear friend Richard Ireland works there, and if you tell him you know me, he will tell you about the art exhibition he gave me in his delightful gallery many years ago, and about the time I gave him a real American Thanksgiving dinner.
Speaking of art, do not miss the wonderful art galleries along Hanover Street down into Dundas Street. Although I love museum collections and marvel at their elegance, I believe the real art that is happening now is in these galleries. And when you are out for that walk, be sure to head up into Old Town and stop in at Greyfriars Art Shop. You might be inspired to try a bit of sketching for yourself.
This is also the time to reopen the big book of Fringe listings and check out the shows you might have missed in the flurry of promoting your own productions. Try to go to the tiny ones, the shows that don’t have expensive ads and glitzy posters. Those are the Fringe’s hidden treasures. Support those artists just as they have supported you, and marvel at the original presentations of the productions you will see. Last year, I remember a performance at C where we sat on pillows and actually entered Lewis Carroll’s living room.
If you haven’t gotten down to Queen’s Hall yet, make it a point to attend the marvellous concerts there. I find the team in the box office there will expertly help you navigate their programme.
Don’t forget to gather the contact information of the unforgettable people you have met at the Festival this year. And don’t neglect those special events the Fringe Society offer at Fringe Central. We didn’t have a Fringe Central when I first began performing at the Festival eight years ago, but now we do and every event I have attended is informative and memorable, not just because of the panels, but because of the people who attend.
I hear this Festival might end on a wet note, but that is Edinburgh, and eventually you get used to sloshing through puddles to get to your venue, and draping soaking clothes over steaming radiators. You don’t even mind that mouldy smell that permeates the buildings, the furniture and even the people. It’s all part of the fun. Trust me on that one.
I hope all of you had fantastic shows with hundreds of reviews and packed houses, but for the many of you who did not, this is the week to forget about the numbers. Grab this opportunity to give your show that final polish you knew it needed. Dare to try a few new twists to see if they work. Get out on every stage you can and give it your all. There is no high as exhilarating as the one you get when your performance goes well. There is nothing as exciting as knowing you have taken a show and given it thirty performances back-to-back making it better and better every day. Now… yes now, it has become the gem you thought it was when you first began.
Follow Lynn all year at lynnruthmiller.net.