Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Scout Durwood at the Edinburgh Festival - Part 1

Alisande Orme’s Diary

Friday, 6th August 2010: Opening Night

I’ve been friends with first time Edinburgh festival performer Scout Durwood for four years now. During the time I’ve known her she’s go-go danced in sleazy cocktail bars, interned at a feminist magazine captained by a frighteningly verbal alcoholic editor, campaigned for the rights of rape victims, and spent time in a dungeon to research her latest one-woman show Hi, How Can I Help You? but I’ve never known her to be quite as nervous as this.

Scout arrived in Edinburgh from New York two days before her opening with Lucile Scott, her director, and two other performers who’s she sharing a house that estate agents might politely describe as ‘bijou’ with. One housemate almost didn’t make it in to the country, having previously overstayed a tourist visa by over a year. When she did make it in, Visa Girl (as she’ll hence forward be know) immediately began celebrating with Scotland’s finest (whiskey and men) throwing her housemates aflutter by disappearing for two days. It’s never undramatic with actors.

Café Renroc, 91 Montgomery Street, where Hi, Can I Help You? will run until August 29th is the cutest little venue in Edinburgh, it even has a gallery space. However, it’s littleness mean that the hula hoop routine -an essential part of the show, where one sex worker really gets to strut her stuff- has had to be reworked at the last minute. We’ve spent two days publicising the show (read: flyering and flirting with American tourists), and are now keeping our fingers crossed that people will actually come along.

“It could be worse,” we tell each other after watching the news coverage of Charles Taylor’s trial for war crimes. “We could be Naomi Campbell’s wig.”

Saturday, 7th August 2010

With opening night- in a not empty venue!- over Scout, Lucile and I (having taken on the unofficial role of den mother, vodka pourer and force feeder in the wee Edinburgh house) have all calmed down immensely. Even Visa Girl stayed in last night.

Café Renroc, we have decided, is perfect for Scout’s show as a noisier bar, where people are dropping in and out all the time, might disrupt the flow of the performance in a piece like this, which comprises acting, singing and dancing. They, we feel, suit improv acts or stand-up comics better as they give them the chance to show off.

The afternoon is marked out by a ‘Meet The Press’ event which La Durwood assures us went really, really well. We hope so, because apart from the flyering and relying on people who’ve seen the show to spread the word, we’re kind of at a loss of what to do, bar accosting members of the TV production teams who trawl the festival for hot new talent outside their hotel rooms.

Diva’s own interview with her, in which she discusses how best to conduct research in a ‘House of Domination’ can be found here:

I’ll post any other links as I get them.

Sunday, 8th August 2010

Word of mouth and a calm demeanour, it seems, might be the key. Having had a fairly good turn out on Friday, Renroc surprised us with an almost totally packed audience on Saturday! And they liked the show! Exclamation marks and double whiskeys all round!!!

We celebrated this upturn in events with fish and chips and a trip around some of the city’s finer LGBTQ bars. I’m not naming names- can’t remember any- but I would ask lesbians of Edinburgh this, particularly on behalf of Scout and Lucile, who as New York lezzes aren’t used to being chatted up by straight men in gay bars: Where are all the girls, and bois, and dykes? Want some. Also- the eternal question- why doesn’t saying “No thanks, I’m a dyke?” make me these men reconsider their (ahem) affections, especially when you’re in a lesbian bar when you say it? Hate boys.

We’re also massively uplifted by the interview with Sarah Millican that appeared in The Guardian today. Millican we learn only sold five tickets to her Edinburgh show, but went onto win the award for Best Newcomer by the end of the month. With that in mind, we went out to do more flyering.

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