Existential in Edinburgh

I’ve returned to Edinburgh for the Fringe.

And, despite my enthusiasm for my experience last year and despite my insistence that I should return, now that I am here, I am convinced I have made a huge mistake.

My show opens tonight and I do not do not do not want to do it.

I hardly slept last night. I hardly slept the night before. I felt so anxiously nauseous yesterday morning that I could barely choke down breakfast.

The strange thing is that I much more convinced of the quality of this piece of writing than I was of the show I took up last year. This doesn’t comfort me. It oddly makes me more reluctant. I feel like I’ve created this thing that is wonderful and I have no need to show it to anyone, as I do not need their opinions or reassurance. I know it’s wonderful. Last year’s show I wasn’t convinced of, so every time someone liked it I felt a bit better, but every time someone said it was slightly mediocre I secretly agreed with them, thinking, ‘I knew it all along, it’s no good and people have just been humouring me.’

Also, I don’t want to show it to anyone because I think they might ruin it. I don’t know how they’ll ruin it. By not enjoying it, maybe. By not understanding it. And I don’t care what they think because I think it’s wonderful and I don’t want them to ruin it.

So, my overriding desire at the Edinburgh Fringe is to not let anyone see my show. Obviously this kind of defeats the purpose of being here.

I also don’t want to show my show to anyone because I don’t see the point. I no longer think that I will make a living doing this. Even if the show goes well and people like it I have no allusions that this means a ‘life on the stage’.

Apart from not believing the industry will ever welcome me with open arms, I pretty much hate the entire theatre complex and do not want to be part of it. This is a strange feeling that has been building for many months. I cannot and do not want to be part of this hideous, competitive industry anymore. I do not want to have to constantly be selling myself, to be ‘on’. I do not want to be constantly begging for people’s adoration and praise, or more often than not, just their attention. They don’t want to give it – so why should I force them? I want to live quietly in a quiet house with a dog and a cat and people I love and who love me.

There’s a lie going around the internet that ‘creative people’ (whatever the fuck that means) are some kind of special, superior being. It’s a lie that makes unemployed, mediocre actors and writers feel better about themselves when no-one is paying attention to them. They can think, ‘well, at least I’m leaving a superior, special life to my cousin the accountant.’ They can think, ‘I’m just misunderstood,’ when no-one turns up to their opening night or their book launch, ‘some day they’ll all understand.’ It’s all bullshit. When you start realising that EVERYONE up here thinks they are a special and unique butterfly you begin to realise just how ordinary you are. And that’s ok. Ordinary is fine. Ordinary is good. Most everybody is ordinary. Ordinary deserves a good life (it sometimes doesn’t get it, but it deserves it). But if I’m ordinary (and I am) there is no reason to go pushing myself on to others. I don’t want to be shoving ideas and opinions and work down their throats. Why should I? I’m ordinary. I have nothing more to offer them.

Anyway, this is great mood to be in on opening night. I honestly do wish that I could have done the London preview and left it at that. It was a nice preview. It went well. I feel like that’s enough for me and my time in this industry is now done. It’s a free show so I can cancel it if I want. I’ll still have lost a lot of money, but, there are worse things in the world. Watch this space.


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