The Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Me and Scotland go way back
In 1995 I was in a very bad place, and a friend invited me to visit her in Inverness from where we travelled to Lewis, one of the island of the Outer Hebrides.
This visit, though wrought with peculiar events, had such a positive influence on me that I returned a year later and travelled from Skye to Uig, from there to Berneray, then to Harris and Lewis. And again, a sense of life came back to me.
Ever since Scotland is where my soul breathes, an experience I used for Leathan in the dot.story.
The Hebrides were his mind-clearing space: the strong winds, the jagged coastlines, the hidden sandy beaches, the emptiness, the rapidly changing weather, the roughness that had a magic and depth of its own.
There he could breathe even when the wind was so strong that he had to turn his back to the wind to actually breathe.
When the easy town story got to its most critical point, I almost automatically turned to Lewis again. And I hope I get the chance to write that book on the islands.
Me and the Fringe go way back, too
Not quite as far, though I passed through Edinburgh in 1996 and had a look around before the train took me back to London.
I guess it was in 2000, when I studied in Bristol, that I heard rumours of the largest theatre festival on the planet. I was intrigued and decided to grant myself a week at the Fringe that summer.
That same summer, I met Familie Flöz, a theatre company who work with masks. When I saw Ristorante Immortale, I was thrilled, and I said to them, you have to go to the Fringe. Your play tells such beautiful story without uttering a single word so you don’t even have a language barrier. And one of them said: ‘We thought about it. It’s not easy. But with you, we would do it.’
Green as I was, and always happy to do something for the first time, I agreed to take Family Flöz to the Fringe Festival in 2001. And to be fair to myself, I got them into the Assembly Rooms and while we didn’t sell out, we still sold an average of 222 tickets. Which is fantastic for a newcomer. I went with them again in 2004, but we were already on different paths, so it wasn’t quite the same.
The experiences of all three Fringe encounters, first as a visitor and twice as a participant, find echoes in the dot.story.
Looking back, it is funny how the dot.story happened.
I simply wanted to illustrate the workings of dot. with short fictional examples. And I sat at my computer wondering who should make the start.
‘Good. He or she?’
‘Let’s have he for a change.’
‘Hm.’ And here a sudden longing for Scotland and Edinburgh overcame me, and I thought, yes, let it be Edinburgh.
Of course, once Edinburgh was on the table, the Fringe raised a finger, and not much later a whole collection of ideas was milling around.
What I like particularly about the inclusion of the Fringe in the dot.story are the parallels between the ideas for dot. and the Fringe.
At the Fringe people from around the world come together and celebrate the arts. And dot. brings together creatives from around the world, giving them a voice and access to the global market. And both give visitors and customers a chance to dive into a world full of abundance, diversity and beauty — and occasionally something to chew on.
‘You see, our young friend here is full of ideas. He’s like an ideas fountain really. And after some dancing in the waters, it was clear that we needed to pick a few ideas and leave the rest for later. And then there’s the trouble at the dot.station. You’ve heard?’
‘Not enough orders.’
‘Right. So when Lakeshia from dot.international wrote that it would be great if we could focus on the ideas for the festivals, because that might give the dot.station the spark it needs, we narrowed down the field of ideas.’
Charlie Alice Raya
Edinburgh, Tunis and the world
A story illustrating the ideas for dot.
Pages: 70k, 230 pages
Files: dot.story, ePub, dot.tour, pdf
Price: €8.51 (incl. VAT)