Babies by Czech sculptor David Cerny. Photograph taken by me at dawn, on my way home after the Fringe closing festivities.
Well … I’d certainly intended to write something during the Prague Fringe, but here we are and it’s all over. I guess that means I can come over all reflective now. Emotion recalled in a state of tranquility: isn’t that what poetry is?
* * *
It’s Monday morning in Prague. Yesterday morning, I was walking home at five thirty in the clean light of a new day, having just marked the end of the festival with the traditional greeting of the rising sun on the Charles Bridge. Prague at 5:30 a.m. is stunning, like walking through a dream. I felt like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s as the opening credits run, all alone with a new day shining upon the quiet, waiting city, and kind of beautiful and composed. Replete.
* * *
What can I say about the festival? I’m delighted with how it went. Ten days ago, I didn’t have a show. I was still pregnant. Now I’ve got this squirming thing called Running to Saint Sebastian that is pink and new and wanting to live and squeal, and it is alive, has a past already.
Tomorrow, I leave for Montreal and the second stage of this baby’s life: the Montreal Fringe. It’s going to be an interesting adjustment, going from the minuscule (one might say claustrophobic) Golden Key to a theatre that, while still small, is going to be like roaming through Belgium after being confined in Liechtenstein. And I’ll have a technician! What can I get them to do, after running everything myself for the past two weeks?
* * *
I only saw seven shows during the Fringe. I wish I’d seen more. But time is limited, as is energy. I sometimes wish there could be two of me at the Fringe, one who would go to shows and the other one who would perform my show. I think people sometimes assume that if you’re doing an hour-long show, you have twenty-three free hours in the day, but it’s amazing how much time is consumed by preparing for the show, having a rest in the afternoon if necessary, and then “coming down” after the show (i.e., eating a huge plate of beetroot salad and mashed potatoes, and enjoying some wonderful Czech beer). Not to mention that you need to show up early at the theatre, and then take time to clear everything away at the end of each show. I literally did almost no sightseeing in my two weeks here—not a single museum or art gallery.
But I don’t feel guilty. I did my show. It’s what I came here to do.
* * *
It’s been different for me, this Prague Fringe. Because I was doing a brand new show (something that wasn’t quite the case on the previous three occasions), there was much more of a learning curve this time. It took me longer to settle down, and be able to think about things other than my show (things such as enjoying being in the most beautiful city in the world). I actually rewrote two short bits that weren’t working as I wanted them to be. I learned how the show breathes, when it races ahead, when it slows almost to a standstill. I began to use the music as an integral part of the monologue, which it hadn’t been (and which it has never been in my past shows). I learned to breathe the show.
It’s too early to say more. I’m not really ready to look back on the Prague Fringe any further than I’ve just done. I’m still in Prague! The city is there for me, for one more day. Time to enjoy.