It’s that time of year when we launch our annual series of Fringe preview Q & A’s. Andy Edwards talks about his show Scribble.
In one sentence tell us about your show.
Bran Flakes, anxiety and gravity: Scribble is about we share our mental health with each other.
What made you decide to bring a show this year?
We had just presented Scribble at the Traverse Theatre’s Hothouse season in 2016 as a script-in-hand reading. Getting to put the work on there, at an institution that means a lot to us both, was really beyond our expectations when we started out. We had a really positive audience reaction, people engaged with what we found interesting. Both director Amy Gilmarton and I felt that Scribble wasn’t done with. There was something we wanted to do with it. We just didn’t know what.
The Fringe was on our radars but without support we wouldn’t have been able to afford it. Then the Assembly Roxy Theatre ART Award came up and we just thought we’d go for it because the Fringe felt like a great place to have a really wide conversation with a really varied audience, a great place to develop what we’d started. We were really blown away when we got the award – a combination of extreme gratitude and extreme terror. That terror has given way to excitement now. Roll on August 3rd.
Any advice you’ve heard or can give to anyone coming to the Fringe for the first time?
The first full length play I wrote, Killing Time, went to the Fringe with the Edinburgh University Theatre Company. That was five years ago now. It was a good experience but it was one I found quite difficult, I got really caught up in worrying about whether the work was good enough, worrying about what other people thought of it, wondering what it meant for my “career” at a point where I was just starting out as an artist.
I’m definitely no expert, I made a tonne of mistakes and it is no coincidence that this is my first time presenting work in that context since then, but if I have any advice to give then it would be to keep your grip nice and relaxed. Let go of your expectations about whether the show will be a success – or even be any good. Focus on the small details, on the day-to-day experience of putting on a piece of work, on the pleasure of working with the people you’re working with. It’s a really precious thing to work with other people, it takes a lot of energy to get it started, so sit back and enjoy that for the brilliant thing it is.
That’s much easier said than done though.
What makes your show stand out from all the others on offer? (Don’t say that it’s because you’re in it!)
There are so many different works on at the Fringe, across so many different genres, styles and traditions that I wouldn’t say there’s any one thing that makes Scribble stand out from everything else. Scribble is a piece of theatre about mental health, so it part of a really wide conversation that includes lots of other work over the years. What excites us about Scribble, and what we hope might offer something new to this conversation, is the quality of live-ness we’ve tried to embed into the work. Scribble will feature a different actor every day, reading the script for the first time – this isn’t a wholly new thing: Nassim Soleimanpour’s Red Rabbit, White Rabbit is perhaps the most renowned work that’s used that conceit – but we think that by doing this within the context of a work about mental health we can say something interesting. We experience our mental health in the moment, it changes day to day, reacting and responding to who we’re with, what we’re doing, what else is going on in the background. Our hope is that Scribble will similarly be a totally different experience each performance, informed by its context, with each new actor bringing their own quality, experiences and energy to it. We think that’s a super exciting thing to present to audiences at the Fringe.
What show, other than your own, do you not want to miss?
The Traverse has a really strong program this year and I’m particularly excited for Jo Clifford & Chris Goode’s Eve and Frances Poet’s Adam, companion pieces both presented by the National Theatre of Scotland. That’s an outstanding group of writers, really really brilliant, and it is exciting to see the largest artistic bodies in Scottish theatre rigorously engaging with the experiences of the transgender community. We’ll have to wait and see, but for the Scottish theatre community as a whole, looking beyond the Fringe to see where we’re all going, what we collectively want to discuss, be advocates for, these two pieces feel like super exciting work to be seeing right now.
Finally, the boring but essential bit…
Name of the show: Scribble
Venue: Assembly Roxy
Dates: 3 August – 27 August 2017 (not 15 or 22)