This month it all kicks off, the 70th anniversary of Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Daniel Perks catches up with writer and director Blair Simmons, bringing Staging Wittgenstein to this year’s festival:
For three weeks Scotland’s capital welcomes an explosion of creative energy from around the globe.
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe began in 1947 when eight theatre companies turned up uninvited to perform at the inaugural Edinburgh International Festival. The companies were refused entry to the programme but decided to perform on the fringe of the Festival anyway. The Fringe has remained true to the defiance expressed by the eight companies who performed here in 1947, upholding its open access principle that permits anyone with a story to tell and a venue willing to host them to participate.
Here at Miro Magazine, we are incredibly excited by the biggest fringe ever. So, up until the 4 August, when the fringe really kicks off, we will be profiling some of the shows playing this year and getting to know the people, theatre companies and performers that are shaping one of the strongest fringe offerings ever seen.
Next up in our Spotlight feature is Staging Wittgenstein, which plays Edinburgh Festival until 28 August 2017. I caught up with writer and director Blair Simmons:
Describe your show in three words.
Fun-filled, explosive, balloons
Is this your first Edinburgh Fringe performance experience?
This is our first time performing at Edinburgh Fringe and we have hit the ground running after open dress rehearsals in NYC. I’m feeling so excited and can’t wait to show the festival what a theatre full of balloons can do!
Who else are you most looking forward to seeing while at the Fringe?
I cannot wait to see the physical theatre booked at Summerhall this year! Staging Wittgenstein is also incredibly physical, and I have heard such amazing things about the shows they put up.
How do you feel to be performing at C Venues?
C Venues has been such an outstanding group to work with, this show is very unusual and we needed an accommodating venue. The balloons in our show can pop at any time – they are both props and costumes — so our technical team is just as much a part of the performance as the actors.
Who or what are your inspirations?
For this project, I was inspired by a specific piece of philosophy and performance theory. The balloons create an environment that is unpredictable, and as such, every iteration of this show has and will be what the show is, because in a way, the show is its evolution.
What is your secret to surviving the intense, fast pace of the fringe?
What are the future plans for your show?
The future of Staging Wittgenstein is to show it to as many audiences around the world as possible.
What is the best production you have seen this year – can be any genre, style, in any theatre or performance space?
Sulayman Al-Bassam’s play Petrol Station which premiered at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. In this play, he deftly writes about borders, immigrants and other important themes for our time.
Is there anything else you want to highlight about your show/ theatre company/ production?
Annie Hägg, our principal performer, is a highly-accomplished actor and has her Master’s degree in acting from Yale University, and she is making her Fringe debut wearing nothing but a balloon
Staging Wittgenstein plays Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 until 28 August 2017. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.