I'll get the plug over with first: my play In a Handbag, Darkly premieres on this year's Edinburgh Fringe. It's a farcical revisit to Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, running from 13 to 25 August (not Sunday) at theSpace on North Bridge, it's on page 287 of the Fringe programme, and tickets are already selling through edfringe.com - though I get slightly more money if you hold out for a short time and buy through the venue when they launch their own programme and booking system.
Looking through the Fringe programme, here are some of the first things that stood out to me. I can't guarantee they'll all be good - in fact, it's very likely that one or more of them will be awful. Some of them I circled earlier, began typing up here, and then thought "No, it'll probably be terrible." I also, sadly, can't guarantee I'll even get to all of them. I happen to be more than usually hard up, what with having put on a show and all; some of that money will come back in ticket sales, but almost all of that will have to be spent straight away. So most of the shows I actually go and see will be either free, cheap, or on at the same venue group as my own show. I'll get to these if I feel I can, though.
The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs. All the blurb gives away is that it's about Steve Jobs and sweatshop workers. I am mystified by the fact that Apple has so successfully marketed itself to artsy alternative types (Ubuntu, people! The free software industry is probably the greatest contemporary example of all that noncapitalist alternative economics stuff actually working), so it'll be nice if this turns out to be something that shows Jobs' work a bit less kindly.
Bound, except for the title, which makes it sound like something that would have the words "deliciously dark" in the blurb (it hasn't.) In boxcar-riding hobos, the author has found that rare treasure: a subject matter that is both high-concept-cool in the same was as ninjas and pirates and zombies, and not overdone yet. If it goes well, expect at least five hobo plays on next year's Fringe.
Ne'er the Twain, set at the time that Leith became officially part of Edinburgh, in a house that had the divide between the two towns running through its living room. Ingenious premise, and it's nice to see something really local in the programme.
The Picture of Dorian Gray - a musical adaptation. Of the nine other Wilde plays this year (I'm seriously thinking of organising a croquet tournament), this is the one I most want to see.
Quantum Battlestar Deep-Space Voyage Tardis Wars, except for the title (the first two words would have been fine.) I've yet to see sci-fi that works on stage, but I'd really like to, and refusing to take it seriously is a good place to start.
I'm also going to list a few things that scream "DO NOT SEE THIS PLAY" at me when I see them in the listings. I won't name the shows, but if your own one is here you'll probably recognise it.
"Set in a dingy inner-city flat." If I wanted a dingy flat, I'd stay at home.
Exclamation marks. As the Guardian Style guide says Scott Fitzgerald said, it's like laughing at your own jokes.
Swearwords with asterisks for vowels. I'm aware that the Fringe programme compilers do this for you, and I don't know if they even ask your permission, but the effect is the reverse of what you were going for by swearing. You've been instantly transformed from someone who isn't afraid of swearing (hardly a big fucking deal in the first place) into someone who files the edges off their own teeth. And even if you are a trembling self-censor, what good is this supposed to do? Do you think the children can't guess what the missing letters are?
"Rollercoaster ride." Seriously?
Plays about a group of people putting on a play. You are saying "I want to put on a play, even though I have no thoughts other than wanting to put on a play."
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