First Fringe

First Fringe

My Edinburgh experience was unique for of a few reasons. It was my first experience of the city, and also my first exposure to the frenzy of the Fringe. What made it even more special was the reason I was there. The Events, a play that I had been working on for over a year, was a major Edinburgh triumph, winning praise and awards during its run at the Traverse.

Upon my arrival, I saw a sunny old town filled with the atmosphere of a hangover Sunday; jolly, friendly, exhausted, but ready for more. After a few steps, I found myself at the Summerhall. I walked around its stunning space, formerly the Royal School of Veterinary Studies, had a drink in a lovely patio and watched the original and though-provoking installation Bonanza by Belgian group Berlin. Flicking through the well-designed Summerhall programme, I quickly figured that my first Edinburgh experience would revolve a lot around this space.

I spent the following few days running between the Summerhall and the Traverse (yes, I did a lot of running!) besides trying to do some work amidst the festival buzz from my room on Chalmers Street. An exhilarating and exhausting few days, to say the least, and I loved every single minute of them.

It won’t come as a surprise to anyone if I said that my artistic highlight of this year’s Fringe was Company Non Nova’s L'Apres-midi d'un Foehn - Version 1 (at the Summerhall, of course). This unique show, that apparently could only be referred to as 'The Plastic Bags’, was magical, entertaining, and sad. Simple images of bags dancing like ballerinas to Debussy’s music instantly caught my imagination, and left me moved by the beauty and darkness of the performance. Parkin’Son by Giulio d’Anna, as a part of Big in Belgium Season at the Summerhall, was powerful and amazing too (one of these shows that leave you in tears and make you want to call your parents straight away). I also loved Aakash Odedra’s 4 pieces in Rising, being aesthetically diverse, energetic, beautifully choreographed and wonderfully lit. Also, more than worthy of a mention was Third Angel’s What I Heard About the World, which was intelligent, witty, thought-provoking and spot-on despite the insanely early hour of 9.30am!

From my professional highlights I should mention the British Council Showcase Opening Reception. I had an excellent opportunity to speak to people who are not so easy to meet in everyday life, such as the Director of Dublin Theatre Festival, or the Head of Hong Kong Arts Festival. However, among all these overwhelming sensations and experiences, nothing could beat the feeling of pride from being on a team that produced The Events. I had been delighted by the production’s success before, but it wasn’t until Edinburgh that I started feeling properly connected to the show. There I met the choirs, spent more time with the company, met the Traverse staff whom with I had been in touch for such a long time. And what was most important - I saw the reaction of the audience…

I’ve always had a special place in my heart for festivals. Being and participating in one makes me feel that I want to live a festival life forever. Festivals have always given me some sense of belonging, being a part of an artistic community and strengthening my faith in my own career choices. Being at the Edinburgh Fringe with ATC and The Events only intensified all those feelings.

Ania Obolewicz
Assistant Producer
@aniaobolewicz