I arrived in Edinburgh this evening for my 13th Edinburgh Fringe (87,88,92,93,94,95,96,97,98,99, 01,02,04). Hercules will be the 19th show that I have been involved with, due to my youthful habit of doing two or three shows a year. I am almost too old and fragile to hold it together for one these days.
It's hard to remember what state the other shows were in at this stage (you tend to remember the later performances better), but I think it's probably amongst the better prepared ones. I'm pretty sure that for the second "TMWRNJ" we had next to nothing when we came up and just all met up the day before and made some suggestions. But then that was an improvised and deliberately ramshackle show, so I think we can be forgiven for that. It was also one of the best things I've done up here, so maybe I should do less work and just take a chance next year!
I am staying in a flat recently vacated by students and when I arrived it was full of cleaners as the letting agents had just discovered what a mess they'd left it in. It truly was disgusting and the sheets on my bed came complete with dubious stains that led me to believe that the previous occupant was single. Luckily the cleaners said they would sort that out for me. I assumed they meant that the bed and all other contents of my room would be placed in a big fire, but alas they only went as far as giving me clean sheets. If only I had arrived later. Knowledge can be a dangerous thing. What you do know sometimes can't hurt you, but it can make you feel a bit sick.
So what will this Edinburgh bring? There's no way of knowing of course. Will it be good reviews or bad? Or a confusing mixture of both? Will people come along? As of yesterday I had already sold 630 of my 5000 tickets. Which might not sound all that many, but which is actually quite a good start. Will the show ever get down to the right length? Will it be funny or just greeted by stony and impenetrable silence? What drunken adventures will I have? Will I get used to the buzzing bit of machinery that is located somewhere outside my bedroom window and which (along with the ghosts of the past wanks of strangers) kept me awake into the early hours?
I am looking forward to finding out. And doubtless if past years are anything to go by, it will seem to last forever and then suddenly be over before it has even begun.
I wish I understood how that was possible.
Better get back to butchering the child that is my script.