Monday, May 22, 2006

Advice is Welcome

So for several months now, I have been haunted by the thought of working in Scotland. Those of you who know me well know that I adore Ireland, have made several trips, and studied for a semester there in college. I also have a general fondness for Celtic culture across the board, inspired at least in part by genealogy. I have a vivid memory of an entire hotel dining room singing "Happy Birthday" to me and Mom in Edinburgh, and there are many fond memories of a trip we took there in the Spring of '77, but that was the last time I was there. So it feels like some sort of leading, rather than mere wishful thinking, that has me wondering how I could get to Scotland, ideally to perform, ideally on someone else's dime. Experience has me thinking I'd prefer to be in the Highlands for the majority of the time, but since there seems to be some element of outside influence involved (again, I don't think it's just wishful thinking), I'm not going to be too fussy about where I end up if I get there. So... why am I writing this? I don't know. Maybe writing it on my blog will mean I'm taking the idea seriously, whoo-whoo New Agey 'follow the universe' aspects and all. Maybe I'm writing it so I can start to unravel why I might be drawn to this idea. I mean I'd love to tour the world with a play, and if someone invited me to come perform in almost any country (Ireland, Wales, New Zealand, Greece, Italy, just to name a few) I would jump at the chance. But this feels different, more like there is some intention involved I haven't fully understood yet. Seriously, for the amount of time I've been thinking about it, this seems really a random choice. Scotland? Sure there's the Edinburgh Theatre Festival, and the famous Fringe Festival around that, neither of which I've ever attended or participated in, but other than that, does anyone really know much about Scottish theatre? I couldn't name you a single Scottish playwright, with the possible exception of J.M. Barrie. In Ireland, a handful of visionaries consciously created a native theatre scene as part of a larger cultural Renaissance and colonial resistance (previously Dublin had just been yet another provincial stop for touring English plays). I'm not aware of any such development happening in Scotland. And let's not forget, getting acting work in one's own country is hard enough, no other country is going to welcome foreigners intent on coming in to take the limited number of acting jobs available.
So, I don't know what this is about. But it's fun to think about, and I've got a most uncharacteristically hopeful sense about it. I think something is brewing. In the past when I've had this sense, something has usually turned up eventually, even if it didn't look at ALL like what I was picturing. So maybe I'll find myself teaching English in Sri Lanka in a few weeks time. But I really hope I'll be performing. In Scotland.
Any advice is welcome. Have people done the Edinburgh Fringe Festival? Was it worth all the headaches of going over, finding a venue, finding housing, getting an audience etc? Does anyone know a great website for arts jobs around the world? Does anyone have a Scottish cousin who runs a theatre, say in Inverness? Tell me everything.