* The Orkney Music Festival*
all fiddlers and floozies and dancing and drinking and staying up all night and more music and dancing till the birds take over at dawn…..great….
but the Edinburgh Festival is something else….it’s great to take part as a performer or writer or whatever but great fun even as a humble spectator – hundreds of shows to choose from………the Festival is everywhere , the good, the bad and the mysterious….
Just because I happened to be passing down Chamber Street where a Belgian Company’s drama production was showing I went in on the off chance I might come across something unusual.
I got my ticket and was told to wait in the bar – sort of unusual all right, a bit mysterious – no barman, just me … where was the audience? What –
A door opened, a woman smiled and beckoned and led me from the bar/waiting room down stairs to a wheel chair. I was seated in the wheelchair then quietly told I was going to be blindfolded and have my wrists loosely tied to the arms of my wheelchair was that okay? ( Normally NO NO NO but in this context it was okay. Sort of..(once started, no going back).
Then I was pushed off, through a bead curtain, stopped, someone whispered in my ear, moved on, I was interviewed by someone else, soft music was played, someone stroked my hair and asked me if I wanted to stroke hers (I assumed it was ‘hers’) which I did and I did. And so on.
“Can I ask you a question?” a voice whispered and I must have nodded or said ‘Yes’ because the voice went on ” Are you happy?” and I found myself giving a detailed account of my version of how happy/unhappy I was to a stranger I couldn’t even see and getting back wise and empathetic comments in exchange……
Then I was pushed elsewhere to meet other voices out of the darkness asking other questions…….At one stage my blindfold was whipped off and I found the sweet voice I had been listening to belonged to a woman dressed as the Pope but with a long white beard like Santa Claus. “Do you mind if I take your photograph?” she asked and of course I said ‘Yes’ then the blindfold was replaced. And the journey continued.
Smell this. What does it remind you of? What do you think it is? Taste that. Is it sweet or sour? What does this feel like? Rough? Soft? Can you feel it move under your hand?
Finally I was untied and unblindfolded in front of a wall that was lined with photographs of ‘the audience’, mine included, sort of proof that the whole experience was real, had actually taken place, hadn’t been some crazy dream, then I was ushered to the exit and released into the real Embra afternoon air with of course someone playing the bagpipes in the distance.
What was that all about? Did I really say all that? Did…..? What….? Why…….How…….Where…..?
Loved it. Loved every minute of it.