Saturday, May 6, 2017

Midsummer in Edinburgh (Tarragon)

We are just back from Midsummer at Tarragon.  It's light entertainment and predictable but still entertaining for all that.  Given that the play talks about the constant rain over the Midsummer weekend in Edinburgh, it felt quite appropriate, given the massive rainfall we've had over the past 4 days. However, I thought the play could be tightened (maybe losing 10-15 minutes, particularly the number of times songs were "reprised").  My wife thought it should lose 30 minutes.  Perhaps the single most amusing line was the message reading on the car park ticket machine saying "Change is possible."  I never saw that when I was in Edinburgh, though I also never drove anywhere.

One thing that she found really puzzling was that the play seemed to be set in 2016 (or at least in 2009 when it premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe), given how much emoticons were used in text messages (and the phone noises seemed fairly contemporary).  However, if the main characters really were just turning 35 in 2009, then they would have been 9 in 1983 (probably a bit too young to sneak in and see The Jesus and Mary Chain).  Perhaps this was more of a passing reference to when the band formed, but Bob definitely said he had seen them in 1987, which would have still left him at 13 or so (and 5ish if we are to assume the play is set now).  I didn't let this bother me too much, but she felt it was a pretty big inconsistency.  (So some theatre goers do sweat the small details.  I've recently decided that Corporate Codes will be set in 1999, so I need to make sure all the internal references square up with that.)  If they had said the play took place in 2000, then the internal chronology would make much more sense, but they would have to have ancient phones that only texted and basically no emoticons.

On further reflection, I have to say 35 is a pretty weird age to suddenly discover that it is worth ditching everything and making that long delayed ferry ride to the Continent to busk.  I'd say 28 or 29 is about the latest it would really not seem "too late" to change one's life.  (It's also a little hard to believe 35 year olds would hang with the goth teenagers even for just a wild night.)  On the other hand, if Bob and Helena were in their mid-40s, then there might be more comic potential in watching them try to reclaim their glory years.

The program included this amusing map, which only has a few tourist attractions, favoring the Ikea just out of town as well as the industrial estate.  I suppose if one lives in a place long enough, then one probably does navigate by more personal landmarks rather than the big touristic ones.  (If you've never read Kevin Lynch's The Image of the City, it's certainly worth a look.)

I went ahead and dug out a few of my photos of Edinburgh.  Just looking through them, I am exhausted, since I seem to have criss-crossed the city three times in two days.  I'll just post some ones that remind me of the trip, but I won't be able to label them or anything.  It was a nice trip (I also visited Glasgow on the same trip) and I wouldn't mind going back, though I think it is somewhat unlikely at this point.

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