The Singer's Diary from Battle @ The Fringe
The Battle of Pots 'n Pans is sung as well as acted, don't you know..
NewsNet asked Coreen Scott, of the Laverocks, who sings her way through the battle for her thoughts on the week in Edinburgh this year. Last year the Laverocks broke even there without any play on words, so how would it differ? And most importantly, would anyone want to come? Emotionally exhausted as she hoped to be, and was, by the end, she put pen to paper.
"Don’t be shy!
Complete with period costumes, the cast of the Battle of Pots 'n Pans lay siege to Edinburgh’s chaotic High Street in manoeuvres that would have made the Bonnie Prince Proud! It's no easy task to wrestle for the attention of thousands of visitors to the city of Edinburgh but, hey, aren't Pans folk made of stern stuff - the unicyclists, bearded women, balloon blowers and jugglers had no chance? Natural born sellers of our arts by craft. Not shy then. At least 700 leaflets were inserted into the hands of unsuspecting Redcoats (ok Americans, French, and Chinese etc.) - we came at them from behind - wearing our smiles and a short explanation of the significance of the Battle of Prestonpans so if they didn't come to the show they'd have heard about one of the most significant events in Scottish history anyway. The atmosphere was breathtaking, the city electric and alive.
First night nerves!
I’m worried now. Despite the number of flyers that have gone out I’m worried that the St Cuthbert's venue is off the beaten track well below the castle walls and that no one will come – no passing trade. You don’t count the ghosts in the graveyard. I get inside and see a few friendly faces, fellow Laverock Alasdair is tuning his guitar and Gavin warming up, but suddenly there is a sinking feeling in my stomach. I have done many music performances before and I wonder why this is having this effect on me. I guess it is because I am part of a company now, not the soloist, and that I depend on my fellow performers and they on me.
I see a scattered audience beaming big smiles at all of us which has the effect of calming me, at least, down. I’d better get out of the way since the rest of the audience is arriving. I can taste the atmosphere.
Andrew has told us now to get into position and we all assemble at the bottom of the stair, eerily silent (does anything ever trouble our director Andrew – he is so relaxed). We hear the faint murmur of the crowd as Ronan starts chanting ‘its no, it’s no, its no, it’s no locked then.’ Seconds seem to go by until I hear Bob screaming that Rangers have scored. As I ascend the stairs I seem to float to the stage vaguely aware of Steve, Ronan and Malcolm and passing an animated footballing Bob.
Each actor in turns plays out of their cotton socks – there is so much energy – you can almost feel the electricity, everyone supporting each other. I love this.
As the play unfolds, the cues taken and each individual performs the audience seem to warm to the play. And it is almost a full house!!! But it's all so fleeting. The final scene is played out and the audience applauds, some standing to their feet! First night over.
Final night,all tired now but it is a good and wholesome tiredness. We've been near full every night with a couple of nights sold out and people actually waiting for ticket returns - all my fears unfounded. Yet even in our tiredness the excitement of the actual performance remains. It was good of 'The Scotsman’ to sing our praises but I think they were justified for the immense effort that has gone into the show from writing, touring in East Lothian, everything in Edinburgh right to our last bow. I've made wonderful friends here, had great experiences.
click to enlarge images
Its over ..
The scenery has been packed away and the ‘BattleBus’ has just taken off. Full of satisfaction I can’t really understand the emptiness I now feel. I am missing it already – the running around of the girls, the banter with the boys, the emotions. This last night we are going to the pub to talk show stories, laugh, shake hands - which will become heart warm hugs - and then, finally, go our separate ways. I'll really miss this and them.
However, September beckons! September 18th to be precise back home in The Pans at the Community Centre at 7.30pm.
[Editor: The Fringe production was videotaped and will shortly be available at this website. But for the moment you can link here to pictures and further reports.]
Published Date: August 23rd 2008