First night Pantechnicon

Good. That’s done. A quietish night but we had very little on the outside of the van, and we kind of wanted it quiet so we could make sense of what precisely  the show is. Now it’s to bed and tomorrow it’s reflection and reworking. There’s plenty to take away, but it holds together.

One thing I’ve realised is that there’s loads of work going on at this festival in the next three weeks and I don’t get to see any of it until I’m done with the van – but then my pass is valid until the end of the festival. I’ll get to see all sorts of wonderful stuff. I hadn’t realised how coveted they are, these passes. It’s a bonus.

Vault Festival is lovely. It’s how I imagine Edinburgh must have been in the early days, before it became a money sink. It’s great, apart from the Eventotron which is the seventh circle of hell. All the team are super helpful and up for it. It’s known to be a scratch festival, so everyone is testing out material, shifting it, changing it, knowing some of it might not work as intended. And there is so much on! The variety of different approaches in the posters is enough to make me very curious to see things. And so many friends, old and new, are making work there.

In a break in the middle of the night I saw one friend sucking up a fag in the gap, looking dog tired. “I’m halfway through operating two shows I’ve never seen before,” she tells me between draws. “The next one’s got 300 cues.” Two other friends wander past as I’m distributing business cards. We have business cards that double as tarot. It’s a conversation starter. I get poked, winked at and waved at by numerous other people, so many actors either supporting or working. Either there full of booze and jollity, supporting their mates. Or running to the loo between shows wondering what they’ve forgotten while strangers queue in the street.

Because there’s an audience. People come. The queue was long at the start of the night. This stuff is affordable theatre, it’s an unusual experience, and it’s a little loopy. If we dress the van right on the outside and work with the business cards well, we could fill the place pretty easily I reckon. We were getting walk-ups tonight without really even trying, and with no exterior dressing and no posters – they got posted to the wrong place and subsequently buried. Maybe they’ll show up tomorrow.

And tonight I’ll sleep. Last night I had a hostile cat locked in my room with me. I slept about an hour. It’s just as well my character doesn’t remember his name because I didn’t either.

Come play in our cosy little van in a tunnel.


Now we’re up and running my inability to frame the unknown has given way to my ability to tweak the known. This one is going to grow and grow. My show will likely be totally different in three weeks.

Meanwhile I’m in the bath again…


Yoga and street signs





Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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