The Edinburgh Festivals
Updated: Jan 27, 2021
In the summer of 2016, a group of University of Washington undergraduates (under the tutelage of Scott Magelssen and Tatiana Pavela) embarked on a month-long academic intensive at the Edinburgh Fringe & International Festivals.
The course consisted of attending productions (ranging in medium, style, theme, country of origin, and scale) as well as facilitated conversations and reflections in a Socratic seminar setting. Our other assignments included presentations on and conversations with the major theatre companies showing work at the festivals (e.g. The TEAM and Vanishing Point). We took field notes on the shows we saw and the experiences we had as outsiders, tourists, and young artists in this month-long global arena.
The art that changed my life at this festival includes: Thomas Ostermeier’s production of Richard III with Lars Eidinger shining in the titular role; Anything That Gives Off Light, Rachel Chavkin’s brilliant collaboration with the National Theatre of Scotland about national mythologies or identities, and the complicated feelings we hold for the places we call home; and finally James Thierrée’s gorgeously spectacular and strange, eyes wide open/jaw-dropped/on the edge of your seat watching, thing called The Toad Knew.
I won’t soon forget my conversations with Cherry Jones, Richard Demarco, Matthew Lenton, and Alan Cumming. I cherish the nights spent atop Arthur’s Seat with great food and even better company, the wonderful moments spent at Summerhall and the breathtaking landscapes and treasures of Scotland.