Edinburgh Diary Number … 4

Nogs in the Rain 1

There is a bit of a theme here as you can see … the theme is moisture … quite cold moisture coming from the sky! And quite a lot of it!

Yesterday (Sunday 10th August) there was a huge amount of it; it seeped down necks, into shoes and up careless sleeves. Just as we were about to do our get-in for todays show, which we have to do in about fifteen minutes, the heavens opened, the sky cracked and the thunder thundered. Loudly! We splashed through water with barrels and boxes, puppets and props. We paddled across the stage and slipped and skidded like swans on an ice covered lake as we tried to lift the main part of our set. There was a waterfall coming through the centre of the roof … just where we put one of our two projectors. A message was sent and received and within two minutes two of the Assembly team turned up with a ladder (we had the same problem a few days ago which I think I’ mentioned in the Edinburgh Diary a while ago). One of the team shinned up a ridiculously tall ladder and armed with bits of material and gaffer tape, staunched the flow. The space was mopped, the projectors set and turned on and in came the audience.

It is a funny thing when there is a bit of a panic: a Dunkirk spirit seems to enter all involved. The first two minutes of the performance were quite difficult because of the unbelievable noise coming from the roof of the tent. The tent has wooden sides, a wooden floor and a canvas roof with a little dome on the top which acts as a vent to let hot air escape … it also, apparently, lets in wind blown water. The canvas roof performs a little like a drum … with us and the audience sitting inside it. So the first few minutes of the play sounded as though three hundred Ginger Bakers were belting away at a snare-drum. We talked very loudly and added a few little jokes in about the noise, water, etc. The audience, which was a remarkably large audience for such a miserable day, hunkered down in their seats and decided to go with us and enjoy whatever happened next.

Nogbad Spies

Nogbad the Bad looks for where the next wave of rain will come from!

Monday … we had a day off. The first for a few weeks. I had intended to do all sorts of things … I did nothing but read a book, watch a black and white film or two, doze and eat. I was a tired bunny and the weather wasn’t that conducive to going out and having fun. It was the first time in weeks that I’ve managed to have a really lazy day. I did, after a couple of small glasses of beer at The Caley Sample Room, start to think about theatre, other projects, re-inventing one’s self, searching for new audiences, finding new ways of doing things, and on and on … this is, I think, one of the exciting things about coming to the Edinburgh Fringe. There are so many people up here doing great things that it makes you want to create new work, and little conversations here and odd visual stimuli there begin to get your creative juices flowing and, more importantly, make you question your own methods and ways of working. All kinds of new thoughts came rushing in … these are still going round and round my head today.

Tuesday 12th August … funnily it rained again today … and the wind blew but still we had a lovely and quite big audience, which for a wet Tuesday was very pleasing. Tony and I then went to a discussion about touring theatre for young people internationally at the Summerhall venue. It was interesting though I’m not sure I learned a great deal that was new … but it was great to meet other practitioners and talk about each others work over a glass or two. So thank you to all at Imaginate and the others on the discussion panel.

Tomorrow is another day … and another wet day I suspect, though it has been promised that the rain will be warmer tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

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Edinburgh Diary Number 2

Queen G and Ignora

I thought I’d start with a picture of Queen Grunhilde the Lazy One and her trusty maid, Ignora, for no other reason than I quite like it … as indeed do lots of Edinburgh people now. We had a lovely performance today (Monday 4th August) with almost a full-house. The flyering is paying off perhaps. But … I’m rushing into things … I haven’t told you about Saturday yet … the trouble is there is so much happening up here, so many things going on all around us … I can’t remember a thing about Saturday. Oh, I went to see a show at Assembly Roxy … but I didn’t enjoy it so I won’t mention which one it was. It also rained on Saturday … and Sunday … and, indeed, today … but at least today the rain is quite warm … though it was lashed into our faces by a fairly strong wind. The sun has come out now and George Square Gardens are delightful in the sun.

IMG_0568

This is actually a photo of the gardens and the bar in slightly less than clement weather but imagine it with the sun shining and you’ll see what I mean. There are loads of people around enjoying the buzz. Unfortunately I am hobbling around with a slightly gammy ankle … just the general wear and tear of age sadly. So I’ve wandered into the Assembly Cafe, put my foot up and looking helpless towards people who I hope will wander over and see if I want a cup of tea … I won’t hold my breath.

Sunday Night I went to see Gavin Robertson doing his “Bond” show … which I can thoroughly recommend; clever, witty, technically brilliant and … a charming evening was had by all … do go and see it if you get the chance.

During the day yesterday I spent hours walking around Edinburgh handing out flyers … hundreds of them … and dodging the rain. Lorks a mussy it rained … spent lots of time under awnings with rain dripping down my neck and then leaping out in front of unsuspecting families and shoving a bit of papier-mâché into their hands. All were charming … except for the ones who weren’t! I bumped into Stewart Lee (Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle) with his family and tried to give him a flier (before I realised it was him) and he said “Oh, we saw that on Thursday, we really enjoyed it” … I chatted to the children who both decided that their favourite bit was the Dragon … so …

Batty Dragon Picture 1

… here he is … for those of you who haven’t seen the show yet … what are you waiting for.

I am now going to hobble over to the counter and buy myself a coffee as no-one else has offered.

Look out for Edinburgh Diary Number 3 … later in the week.

Kickstart-ering Our Way to Edinburgh!

You can help Noggin the Nog by clicking here!

 If you click on the link above it will take you to our Kickstarter Campaign page.

It’s always good to get the “ask” in early, I say. We have calculated that it is going to cost in excess of £16,000 to take Noggin up to the Edinburgh Festival. We have raised £12,000. We have a shortfall of £4,000. If you can help; anything from £1 to … well … £4,000 would be incredible. It will enable us to take Noggin to Edinburgh and beyond.

The Edinburgh Festival is the biggest shop-window in the world for performance. The Sagas of Noggin the Nog has to be there: we have to show our work to Promoters, the Press and New Audiences in order to spread the word!

The Ice Dragon Cometh

The Ice Dragon Cometh

Silly Vikings, Live Music, Puppets and Video Projections taken from the original 1959 film, The Sagas of Noggin the Nog is a feast for the eyes, ears … and occasionally the nose (sorry about that).

“Clever, witty and entrancing … unquestionably a hit”.

As we toured the show last year we were pleasantly surprised by the audience reaction. We knew the show was good but we were not expecting the sheer volume of “brilliants”, “amazings” and “wonderfuls” that we received from the audience and indeed the press.

“Utterly brilliant show – couldn’t praise it highly enough, so thank you very, very much!”

“That was brilliant. I wish all my friends could see it.”

We know that this “delightful, gentle and inventive show” has to be seen by more people. It is a play that crosses the generation boundary. We performed to 4 and 94 years olds. Children who had never heard of Noggin the Nog were spellbound and from e mails that we have received from many parents, their offspring are creating their own Noggin adventures at home and in school. We have also received lots of enquiries about the Noggin books and DVDs. If you look up and to the right you’ll see a link to The Dragon’s Friendly Society … click on that and you’ll find all kinds of goodies you can buy; including books and DVDs.

170px-Wfm_lewis_chessmen Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate created The Sagas of Noggin the Nog back in the late fifties. Peter, the        artist, saw the Lewis Chess Pieces at the British Museum and they became the inspiration for the stories.

The stories were told at a slower and less frenetic pace than most TV is now. Initially this worried us a little: what if the modern audience gets bored at the gentler style of storytelling?

“What a spellbinding and magical show we enjoyed at Ilfracombe today! A truly lovely experience!”

“Today we went to see Noggin the Nog at Lighthouse in Poole. It was absolutely brilliant and very funny… if the tour is coming to a theatre near you then you should see it!”

“Just as another chorus of “when will it start” is about to begin – BOOM! Two little spines stiffen and heads whiz around to face front, craning to see. A drummer steps from behind the deceptively simple, but effective and versatile, set. My two little boys are transfixed and remain so for the duration of the performance.”

We needn’t have worried. It seems that the style and the pace of the production is just right even for modern audiences who are used to seeing TV and Films that hurtle and rush and cut from one scene to another with increasing rapidity.

“In the Lands of the North where the black rocks stand guards against the cold sea, in the dark night that is very long, the Men of the Northlands sit by their great log fires; and they tell a tale …”

So, if you are in Edinburgh for this years festival, do come and see us and say hello and if not … watch out for a new tour coming to a venue near you, next year.