We invited some of our cast to contribute to the Help Yourself blog. This week it’s the turn of Philip Todd. Phil is returning to Edinburgh in 2015 to perform the part of Tony, and we thought we’d ge this to share some wisdom on how he likes to spend his month in Edinburgh when it’s not 6.30-7.30pm! Here are his top five tips for making the most of your Fringe experience…
I’m delighted to be appearing in Help Yourself as part of the Edinburgh Fringe for a second year running. This fun and provocative piece combines a crazy childlike style with real-life stories to offer a playful but powerful look at the issue of worldwide social injustice.
This year I wanted to make the very most of my time at the Fringe. So I made a wee list of things to do. Here’s my top five:
1. Give your best when performing
As obvious as it might sound, your own show has to take priority. And whether you’re performing to an audience of five or fifty, I believe it’s the performer’s job to always give their best. You never know who might be watching, and what impact it may have. For a particular member of the audience this could be an experience they will remember for the rest of their lives (hopefully for the right reasons!). Or perhaps this is your opportunity to invite that agent or casting director along and nurture some career-defining relationships?
Additionally, unless you’re a solo performer, you owe it to your fellow cast members to give your best every time. The more you invest the more they will, and the more you will challenge and sharpen each other. Something magical happens when a cast really clicks and works well together on stage. And hey, we all love a bit of magic!
2. Soak up the atmosphere
The Fringe is that special time when you feel weird walking down the Royal Mile in normal clothes. So why not revel in it! Go watch some street performers, go chat to some tourists, go buy a hotdog, go stand in a queue…
If you’re involved in a show then you’re part of something bigger. Something worth experiencing. And of course that means you should also…
3. Go see other shows
Chances are if you’re performing in a piece of theatre you like theatre. And if so the good news is there’s a wealth of fascinating shows right on your doorstep for a whole month! The good, the bad and the ugly. But whatever the quality of the shows you see I can guarantee there will be something to learn from every one. Maybe something you can apply to your own show or performance, or food for thought for next year’s endeavour…?
And if you choose well you may even enjoy yourself as well!
Yes, I said it. I think all performers should do even just a little bit of flyering. Not just because it might get a few more tickets sold, but because it forces you to consider what it is about your show that makes it worth seeing. What’s the point? Why should anyone pick your show above anything else? Work that out, then go chat to people about it. Their responses may be very revealing.
And ideally don’t just shove flyers into people’s hands (or pockets) willy nilly. Apart from potentially frustrating people, it is also a waste of an opportunity (and a good flyer). Far better is the personal touch where you take time to first show respect for the person and their time, second ascertain if they’re free when your show starts, and lastly discover if they’re actually interested in your show specifically. You might even get as far as exchanging names! And I’m far more inclined to go see a new friend performing than some random guy who shoved a flyer in my face.
Speaking as an introvert I know after being around people a lot I need time by myself to recharge. And sleep is also useful! This comes back to my first point. You can’t give your very best if you’ve not had enough sleep and recovery time. Performing is draining, and while the adrenaline might keep you going for the first few shows, by the time you hit that third, fourth or fifth it’s going to be a lot harder to get the energy up. So plan some recreation and relaxation into your days.
And don’t forget amid all the festival frenzy to take a step back and consider where you are. You’re doing it! You’re performing in the Fringe! So make the most of it.
Phil is appearing in Help Yourself from 17-29th August 2015. Tickets can be booked here: http://just-festival.org/events-at-just-festival-2015/2015/4/7/help-yourself-i-foolproof-theatre-i-theatre