In August it all kicks off, the 70th anniversary of Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Daniel Perks catches up with writer and director Richard Sparks, bringing Margarita Dreams 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.

 

Margarita Dreams

Next up in our Spotlight feature is Margarita Dreams, which plays Edinburgh Festival from 2 – 28 August 2017. I caught up with writer and director Richard Sparks:

Describe your show in three words.

Delicious, delightful, de-laughly.

Is this your first Edinburgh Fringe performance experience?

No – but my first in 41 years!

Two Oxford Revues (starring Mel Smith, 1972 and 73) and two later two-man shows at the Ricky Demarco Gallery (1974 and 76).

Who else are you most looking forward to seeing while at the Fringe?

Alexei Sayle, Lucy Porter (Choose Your Battles).

How do you feel to be performing at Underbelly Med Quad?

The Ermintrude is a great room at the Underbelly Med Quad, and I’m excited for my fine young cast, who are doing a wonderful job with the material I’ve written for them.  And I am nostalgically delighted to find myself – unexpectedly, and after such a long time – back at the Edinburgh Fringe, where it all began for me four decades ago.

Who or what are your inspirations?

I just love my job.  Even when it is nothing but dead ends and fog and confusion…  I love a challenge, a puzzle.  One thing that I’ve learned over the years is that all writing is guesswork.  You never know where it’s coming from – but once it’s hit you, you have to work out where it’s going.  And then work through it, forwards and backwards, let it lead you as well as steer it towards its ending.  Keep changing, improving, and always: rewriting, rewriting, rewriting.  Rewriting is where you get the gold in this business.  You just have to trust yourself, and learn your trade.  And keep a notebook by your bed.  Because when you’re in the grip of it, it will wake you up and nag you and bother you, and you have to be ready to respond.  If you don’t write it down, it won’t be there in the morning.  And you’ll know to your annoyance that you let another good one get away.

What is your secret to surviving the intense, fast pace of the fringe?

Margaritas.  The recipe for the perfect Cadillac Margarita is up on our Facebook page (margaritadreamz); and our website. And, of course, the five string (bluegrass) banjo. But not at the same time.

What are the future plans for your show?

Writing sketch comedy again after so long has been a joy. Margarita Dreams is a 50-minute one-act show – but I haven’t been able to stop writing it.  I have enough material for another hour.  So we could easily expand this into a two-act show and move it on.  And sell some Margaritas in the interval (theatres like doing that!).

What is the best production you have seen this year – can be any genre, style, in any theatre or performance space?

(I haven’t seen any yet).

Is there anything else you want to highlight about your show/ theatre company/ production?

Since December I’ve been mentoring these young talents by Skype from Los Angeles where I now live.  The idea of bringing a show to the Fringe came completely out of the blue; but once we’d had it, it was full steam ahead.  Its sketch comedy with a difference: surreal, unrelated scenes weave in and out of each other, with the strange logic of Margarita-fuelled dreams.  Welcome to the World of Margarita – where peculiar is the new normal, and a good, if unexpected, time is had by all.

 

Margarita Dreams plays Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 from 2 – 28 August 2017. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.