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Friday, September 30, 2011

The show

I ALWAYS thought I should do an Edinburgh Fringe show called The One-Woman Black Watch On Ice
Every time I see an oddball Fringe show in a car or a private flat or with headphones, I imagine some other interactive experience that I could write. 

In my head, I have redirected a festivalful of misfiring Fringe shows.

I thought it would be funny to adapt an obscure academic book in the manner of the TEAM or the Wooster Group or to turn the discussion after this Guardian blog into a piece of verbatim theatre.

Call me chicken if you like, but if I followed up any of these options it would not be playing to my strengths. Chapter four of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide discusses motivation and looks at the reason you might want to do a Fringe show in the first place. There are as many reasons as there are shows, but the message is that your reason has to be good.

Perhaps one day I will stage The One-Woman Black Watch On Ice, but right now I can't think of a good reason for doing it (making myself laugh is a reason, but I'm not sure it's a good one).

Fortunately, I do have a reason for doing a show: to promote The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide. The best way I know to do that is through some kind of public conversation and that happens to be something that plays to my strengths.

I've introduced post-show discussions, chaired events at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and appeared on panel debates at Fringe Central. In 2011, I presented a couple of podcasts in the Pleasance Bytes series, interviewing Julian Sands one week and Art Malik the next. I even got a four-star review for my troubles thanks to those very perceptive people at Three Weeks:

Celebrated journalist and critic Mark Fisher is full of warmth and humour when speaking to his guests, who come from their own respective shows and offer an unique insight into life on the stage. Fisher is the perfect host, and what shines through is his experience in theatre and depth of knowledge of his guests who speak to us during these interviews about their lives back-stage in the shows we wait so eagerly to see. This weekly podcast comes from the very heart of the Fringe, breaking down the actor-audience barriers that still exist and allowing us to ask questions of theatrical greats. This kind of show is why the Fringe is the biggest arts festival in the world – and the best.
Pleasance Courtyard, 13, 20, 27 Aug, 12.00pm (12.45pm), £5.00.
tw rating 4/5
Yes, my show is not yet fully conceived and already I have a quote for my entry in the Fringe Programme. "Fisher is the perfect host." Perfect.
So my idea is to do a live version of the book, perhaps I'd even call it The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide ­– Live. It would be a series of discussions that mirrored the broad shape of the book; one day venue managers, one day comedians, one day publicists, one day actors, and so on.

I realise my questions are only starting to form.

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About Me

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Follow me on Twitter at MarkFFisher, WriteAboutTheat and LimelightXTC I am a freelance journalist and critic specialising in theatre and the arts. Publications I write for include the Guardian and the Scotsman. I am the author of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide: how to make your show a success and How to Write About Theatre: A Manual for Critics, Students and Bloggers. I am also editor of The XTC Bumper Book of Fun for Boys and Girls: A Limelight Anthology. From 2000-2003, I was the editor of The List magazine, Glasgow and Edinburgh's arts and events guide.