Alice Beaumont as the Asteroid in All We Ever Wanted Was Everything. Photo by Wullie Marr.
ALICE BEAUMONT, who plays the Asteroid and Holly in All We Ever Wanted Was Everything, reflects on her Edinburgh Fringe so far.
We’ve been here three weeks. I love Edinburgh but being a part of the Fringe means being caught up in a very strange world. It’s easy to let the whole experience drag you along in its massive current. I regularly feel complex combinations of wonder and heartbreak, irritation and delight. And always, always an unrelenting self-analysis, both personal and professional.
The ‘success’ of a show (in terms of ticket sales) relies fairly heavily on reviews and word of mouth. If you’re lucky it is possible to measure your own show’s success on your own terms – not critics’, but it is hard to do sometimes. It’s a month of subjective judgement, tweets, stars and recommendations. Sifting through the publicised opinions of others can be tricky, but there’s no greater feeling when you realise you believe in the work you’re making regardless of anyone else. That’s the dream.
I have found, with so much assessment in the air, the need to look internally and assess myself is palpable. But the less said about that the better; feelings are gross. Instead, here are some things I’ve experienced whilst being here.
One of those melted clocks from a Salvador Dali painting
All We Ever Wanted Was Everything goes up at 8:45pm so technically we have full days ahead of us before performing but they slip by with bewildering speed. I swear I’m having a morning cup of tea and a minute later I’m doing the pre-show warm up.
I’ve stopped trusting the morning brilliance and don’t go anywhere without my crap umbrella, which I promised myself I’d upgrade when I got here but as yet have not. The wind is a joke and the evenings feel like November. Despite all that, I rather like its unpredictability, it is in keeping with the other-worldliness of the festival. We’ve so far, miraculously, avoided a wet Get In. We prepare for our show outside our venue and, fingers crossed, it’s Scottish law that every day from 8:15-8:45pm is a rain break.
People have been so full of gratitude when we see their show and supportive and kind when they see ours. I marvel at people’s boundless energy whilst flyering. I try to imitate this; I’m not great, but I’m getting better. Most have so much to say about their show and you can see their passion for it right there in the street.
As ever, there’s a ridiculously vast array of plays/musicals/art/cabaret/comedy/poetry. Some brilliant, some not so. This year I’ve been desperate to see complex female characters on stage and I’ve definitely been fortunate enough to witness some. Every time someone mentions an amazing show they’ve seen, I’ve felt the thrill of potentially missing something that might be unmissable. And then I get to see for myself if the hype is true. It’s weird being in a position of being judged as a performer and simultaneously doing the judging as an audience member.
Most of the time I feel a real sense of camaraderie. It’s pretty cool to be here with so many companies all doing the job we love. In darker moments, like after the show late at night climbing the terrifying stairs to our flat I can’t help but think of all the hundreds of people who have spent so much time, money and effort on shows where dwindling audience members are apathetic at best and critics don’t blink an eye at slating them.
It can be a bit brutal here, which reflects the industry in general of course. We’ve been extremely lucky and I can’t really express the gratitude I feel at being here with a show that I love performing in and that people seem to love watching.
The Fringe has been a giant amalgamation of stuff. It’s been a hefty whirlwind and everything is in extremes: too emotional, too big, too fun, too tiring, too strange, too overwhelming, too cathartic, too time-bending, too loud, too quiet, too lonely, too busy, too much. I can’t believe this is our job. And I can’t believe we get to experience all this. For me, being a part All We Ever Wanted Was Everything in Edinburgh has been nothing short of awesome*.
*‘Awesome’ is not the best word here. The thing I’m trying to express is more like a sound, but I’m writing this on a computer and you’re reading… this so a word will have to do.
All We Ever Wanted Was Everything runs every night at the Paines Plough Roundabout until 27 August, 8.45pm.