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ohmygosh.

wow. holy mackeral. or should I say (the local) sea bream?

Scotland.

Scotland.

Scotland freaking ROCKS. the festival has been amazing. a totally challenging and beautiful convergence of art and life. the Traverse and the National Theatre of Scotland have been aMAAAAzing! as have the delightful pairs of parents and grandparents! who have come to visit us, treating us to hot meals of pub fare and dim sum.

we share beds and swap rooms. husbands leave for work in the states and girlfriends come bearing peaceful warm hugs from frenetic professional new york lives and through it all the forward motion of This Thing continues, sometimes threatening to exhaust itself, sometimes busting at the hinges, (no, like, literally) but there is this forward motion, this impetus to keep growing and This Thing revealing itself.

every show is an opportunity to learn what It actually is. which is wonderful. this bittersweet and constant Falling Short of a certain height that will be perpetually out of reach.

this is a good thing. i think.

aspirations making themselves known.

and my parents are here! they are currently THE delightful pair of incredible, happy, supportive, joyous, generous, courageous, faith inducing, faith filled parents who have believed in us and followed us here willingly since 2005 when we had absolutely no idea WHAT we were getting ourselves into. maybe they did. maybe our parents, all of our parents, just wanted us to be happy. maybe they thought we actually had something here. maybe they had absolutely no idea but they were willing to risk it anyway – thousands of dollars, air plane miles, a broken foot, some sweetened hearts, some trampled temporarily, inadvertantly, some salty tears and strange afternoons, fantastically bizarro nights – some air guitar, hundreds of cups of teas and coffees later, we are here.

Saturday, August 16th, 2008.

yesterday was the Roman Catholic holiday The Assumption, if I remember my Catholic schooling properly (I think.) I quite like the image: Mary, instead of dying per se, being assumed wholemeal (as opposed to piece meal) straight up into heaven.

I like it so much that we get to be here. This is a beautiful country. Even when it is pissing down rain (as they say) in your face and you’re cold and you’re stubborn and you won’t buy yet another umbrella, because the first one broke and sliced open your left thumb nuckle. Hypothetical. Is that how you spell nuckle? Nuckel. Woah.

There is a castle, and sea, and the most magnificent sky and letter R sounds. Beautiful people excited about making good plays. Full audiences. People Qing for return tickets. And a chance to do something pretty special that’s bigger than any one of us. Not a bad dream for a young woman to be living, a young woman from New Jersey and malls and hairsprayed French braids and cheerleading squads and trips to see Canadian geese and bowling alleys.

Everything is preparation.

(FYI, I think.)

I hear there is a full moon tonight.

Not 100% certain.

Somebody forwarded it to me in an email from Long Island City. Not sure where the message originally came from. Not sure if full moon’s the same over here and across the Atlantic.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm,

Jess

Presenter Country!

Hi,

So it’s another rainy day here.  The weather I have to say has been by all accounts unseasonably crappy, so I bought a pair of Doc Martens (inspired by a great Nirvana article we’ve been passing around) and Libs bought a rain coat.  But spirits are relatively good after a nice day off yesterday with sunshine in the spiegeltent garden.  We got to sit with Steve Cramer (journalist here and a good friend of the company’s) and Matt and Jake H. enjoyed many beers before heading back home at dawn this morning.

Houses are totally packed, and there is a…wonderful…embarrasing but wonderful series of photos on the cover and front pages of Fest Magazine of the TEAM!  You can probably see it – along with a beautifully written feature at www.festmag.co.uk.  Exciting.  And there’s going to be a spot on the BBC about the show, and next week we have an upcoming radio spot.  Busy goodness.  We also saw it’s a beautiful 72degrees back home, and got a twinge for NYC.  Daniel Kitson, the performer/writer/comic is doing a piece here called 66a Church Road which was my favorite thing I’ve seen thus far, and it’s all about home and the pain and joy of nostalgia – definitely has made me excited to bring this show and our butts home at the end.

But conversations with presenters all over has begun in full, and hopefully the work is going to have a LONG LIFE ahead of it.  But first, NYC.

-Rachel

FRINGE FIRST!

huzzah!

an honor. jake wore his wedding suit, and we all looked pretty spiffy indeed.

joyce is such an incredible speaker, made me so excited about all the shows.

rachel gave a perfect, moving thank you and it was lovely to look out and see the smiling faces of such a support network.

coffee, and orange juice, a black shiny plaque and photographs.a good morning indeed.

thank you edinburgh! thank you scotsman! thank you friends and family at home and beyond who have supported us – we are very grateful.

-jfru

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still at the bloody theatre

it’s about 9:45pm now.  we arrived at 12:30 to perfrom at 1:30, then we at nachos at the cafe/bar here at the traverse and then we saw a play here called “Pornography” (about the bombings on 7-7) and now we’re back for a 10pm showing of Daniel Kitson’s piece “66a Church Street”.  so that means that when we finally get the hell out of here today it will have been nearly a 12 hour session at ye olde Traverse Theatre.  And that’s the vibe.  We did leave for a great dinner with rachel’s pop and grandpa.  thanks for the nourishment Mr. Chavkin(s).  it really is a vibrant scene here at the traverse.  i love this atmosphere.  and i miss my woman.  hello ni.  okay, time to get in line for the show.  ciao.  go USA (at the olympics in particular).

~FRANK

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First family visit

The TEAM has been blessed with families whose support remains unparalleled.  Financial, sure.  But much, much more, there is a spiritual, emotional…LOVE.  Truly, we are loved.

These are pictures of my theatre family with my blood family.  So much love.  And so much food.

My dad and grandpa Herbie fly home tomorrow, and my mom and stepdad left Wednesday.  And then Jess’ family arrive next week!

It will be for them tomorrow, in large part, as well as all the parents and step-parents and brothers and sisters and aunties, uncles, and grandparents, and for all loving friends, that we accept the Fringe First for Architecting.

Oh yes!  HAVE I MENTIONED WE WON THE FRINGE FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  After an absolutely stunning review from Joyce for the show, we were on pins and needles, and it will be announced tomorrow officially in the Scotsman!!

-Rachel

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more rain, more nachos

wheelin and schemin in the trav bar.

it is week two, and the day before the olympics start.

it will not stop raining. libby said, i am too old to have all my clothes be soggy and marched to the army navy and now has rainboots and a jacket and i am jealous. and wet.

jake’s room dripped and set off….the fire alarm? it was loud. luckily we have tall men to reach the fuse box.

and luckily we have superhuman edinburgh powers and can turn on the energy fountain when the show starts! the audiences have been full and lovely. everyone sees shows here, and i love the diversity of age and exerience in the seats.

nick and brian have left, which is sad. but we get ash, jacqui and nathan soon in the rotation.

i saw batman yesterday with the boys and ate a huge sundae in the theatre. treats!

we are all going to see daniel kitson tonight and i am excited.

and full of nachos. maybe i will go buy rainboots. or maybe just nap.

-jill

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i love edinburgh because…

the whole city smells like a baked potato ( especially at night )

the festival is off to a great start. our flat is huge, real world style.  nick, jake and jake sit at the long table cutting out pieces of the cathedral model and patiently glueing them together.

frank, also patient, teaches me guitar. some residents of 65 york place might be sick of the opening lick to angie, but i am surely not. the fly strip is winning the hourly war against the insects and we watch that instead of tv.

the nachos in the traverse bar ( an often meal ) are different this year and we are split on this issue. i for one enjoy my nachos made with UK cool ranch doritos.

we have seen so many old friends! jackie, lorne, brian, steve…we even get to run into brian backstage in between travs 1 and 2 during our shows!

the show is going well. we are sweating more than ever ( thank you traverse laundry and wardrobe! ) and boast daily Architecting scrapes and bruises.

i am having fun and learning a lot.

-jill

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WE GOT 5 STARS!! and hiked Arthur’s Seat

Well, okay, all of us got 5 stars from the Scotsman, which is the paper that awards the Fringe First – but NOT all of us did the morn hike.

A winded Matty, Jill and Rachel

The seat was beautiful, but I think far more excting was the 5-star review from Joyce McMillan, the head reviewer for the Scotsman.  She has given us wonderful 4-star reviews in the past – and all the reviews here frankly are hugely erudite criticism of the work itself (vs. say, how sexy a movie actress looks onstage) and are generally always gratifying in some way – but to receive a 5-star was extraordinarily meaningful.  I got handed an EARLY edition of the paper at 2am in the Trav bar Sunday night, and my head nearly exploded.

In general reviews have been beautiful, tho often with less stars.  A quote from the METRO today (4-stars): “Architecting is bewildering, relentless and hugely relevant…It’s a stunning effort from a company totally at ease documenting America.”

Hi MOM

Mom if you are checking this BLOG.  I love you and I am alive and safe in Edinburgh…I miss you and wish you could come see the chaotic beautiful madness of the festival. We are meeting new friends and colliding with old ones…performing our blood, sweat, and tears…and eating plates and plates of nachos…

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Cavalcade day in Edinburgh!

the walk to the theatre was made extra special (long) today as it is the annual cavalcade with (according to them) 175,000 people watching marchers from different Fringe shows, Scottish organizations – including a group from Falun Dafa that had people meditating inside a gigantic chrysanthemum – and of course the BAGPIPERS.  Libby and I walked along with chocolate and ice cream from a store on the main drag Princes street and got stuck for a while next to a fairly passionless float with children who did not looked pleased to be there and who were sitting and waving lamely.  Face paint.

Show tonight is at 7pm and then getting to see our Riot Group friends…

-rachel

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