So we have just finished the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and wow! What a whirlwind ! We arrived at the beginning of the month with wide eyes and bushy tales and an opportunity to do what we loved. We couldn't quite have anticipated what happened after our first few performances though. I was still feeling nervous and after the first show ( 5 in our audience) we were congratulated and told we were on to something special. It's tricky to take an impartial view of your own work so I had to take our small audiences word for it and plough on with the rest of the run. However as we arrived for the second show we were greeted by a power cut! We unfortunately couldn't do the show.. but that didn't stop us from smiling, I've always been one to just allow these things to happen and very much feel everything happens for a reason. With the Sunday night off I went off into the heart of Edinburgh where I was whisked away by friends into the hidden corners of the city. Needless to say I had a fantastic night !
By the time I came round to the second performance I had relaxed into the feel of things a little more. I was aware of how the space felt and I was really able to focus on the performance and give my all.
Wednesday came and I was getting ready to go on stage, it was half an hour before showtime and I got a text from my Mum (whilst sitting on the loo) saying 'Seen The Scotsman review. Excellent my dear !!!! So proud of you xxxxx' Now I was aware at the time that we had a reviewer in but had no idea it was THE SCOTSMAN ! I didn't even know what rating we had got and when my Mum responded with 4 stars my whole body began to shake with excitement! I washed my hands speedily in record time and ran into the hallway where I wrapped my arms around Tom (our Director) and squealed at him! The elation inside me was almost too much to handle and I was aware I had to calm myself down before the show. The show went on and I gave every bit of myself to the audience and by the end I took myself offstage and burst into floods of happy tears. We had made a mark and it felt incredible, all those nights of worry and painful preparation were worth it. The next day when trawling the net for more reviews (finding another 4 star from A Younger Theatre), I happened across an article published by The Scotsman 'Top rated shows at the Edinburgh Festivals 2016' I scrolled through and in the theatre section, there we were: 'Mine: The complex moral conceit behind Mine sees a powerful four-star monologue delivered with intensity by actress Maisie Barlow'. I had no idea you could feel so much joy in the space of just a few days !
We carried on with the run and after a meeting with our venue decided to add a further 5 performances. I stayed in Edinburgh for the full month, taking in shows, seeing the sights and partying (probably a little too much) My birthday on the 16th came and went with the best birthday present being the friends that I had made and the giant leap we had made as real contenders in the performance industry. We decided off the back of this success that using 'Put the Book Down' would be the best thing to do and have since created this lovely website! ;) We are looking to take the show into development and back to Edinburgh next year and perhaps try out a few more festivals!
I want to add that at the beginning of this year I was in a very bad place, I had no direction and it felt as if the world was conspiring against me but by taking a chance and pushing myself out of my comfort zone I have achieved with Doug in 6 months what some spend their lives searching for, genuine happiness. I want to stress that it was not from a place of comfort that this show was born, it was through hours and hours of hard work, tears and sometimes real break downs. Looking back now thought it's something myself, Doug and Tom are extremely proud of. We , like so many are just starting out and learning (very quickly) as we go and my advice to anyone that wants to achieve is to push yourself and just believe that you CAN do whatever you want with your life.