Fringe 2011 comedy blogs - John Robertson
There’s still time to stop all this and get that doctorate …
This article is from 2011.
I’ve only been heading out to festivals for a few years – and at almost every one of them, I’ve gone completely ballistic. Usually, it’s in the lead-up to the first performance, when I’m overrun by a combination of info from publicists, news on bookings, last-minute rewrites and a general desire to go home.
Various unimportant objects will be thrown; simple tasks will be treated with undisguised rage and confusion. All nearby loved ones will marvel and begin to use helpful phrases like, 'Wasn’t that meant to be done months ago? Did you send that off? What draft is this?' My mother will indicate that there’s still time to stop all this and get that doctorate.
This particular level of tension usually leads to illness. Who could possibly forget the great Influenza of Perth 2008 and Melbourne 2010? The truly revolting food poisoning of Sydney 2011? Whatever the hell happened to me at Glasgow this year?
I don’t know why festivals do this to me. Theatrical run? Fine. Some club shows? No trouble. Corporate booking? Think of the money. Several weeks live with a combination of work, a party, a riot and a reunion of everybody you’ve ever known? Good God, pass the echinacea.
The one exception to this is the Edinburgh Fringe. The Fringe seems to be the one place I’ve been where the enormity of the exercise seems so large that only one possible route remains – total unblinking commitment. How can you get stressed or ill? There’s no damn time!
Last year, I dropped by the Fringe – and did two 45-minute shows a day for 22 days. A Nifty History of Evil was fun, an experiment and a total blast to do. I ate, I drank, I screamed, I danced and I worked. Then I went home fat and happy.
(I hadn’t turned up fat and happy – that was the cider and my obsession with chips-and-cheese.)
What will happen this year? Does it even matter? In the words of Star Trek’s Jem’Hadar warriors, 'Victory is life.' All I can do is turn up, work as hard as I can, have as much fun as I can – and then pack up and resume paying my bills through a combination of grinning, leaping and masochism.
Well, I say all that…
… I am stressed OUT OF MY MIND.