Nothing new for me, so given the opportunity to turn my frantic occupation into performance art, how to resist? The NVA have upped the game as part of this year’s EIF programme, and taken root in Edinburgh’s most impressive venue. After dusk the iconic Arthur’s Seat lights up to the Speed of Light, where individual runners illuminate the landscape into choreographed shapes and sequences with glowing body suits. The audience drive forward through a dark Hollyrood Park, with light and sound emerging in stages on their route to the summit
The beauty is, that no one is a trained performer. All the runners are volunteers, so half excited by the idea of re-enacting scenes from Tron, half intrigued to see if my alabaster legs could be seen from afar, I signed up. I ran on the opening weekend and I was so enamored by the lunacy of it all, I am running again on Sunday. It is a show that ticks boxes for me. As a restless individual, I am a blight on conventional theaters. Unable to keep still in my seat and bursting with a running commentary, Arthur’s Seat was the perfect venue, where you can work up a sweat and whistle while you work, so to speak. I did wonder if there was not another show amongst the lot this month that had a full light-suit Mexican Wave. There’s a festival first for sure.
Put the brakes on and ask yourself this – What would you do if you were given one day? Not a workday or a holiday. Not a Monday, not a Thursday, not any day of the week. A day from the blue, all to yourself. A limited 24 hours. Would you go out and play?
Big problems with play the older you get. We get to where we want to, we live the dream, but we start to switch off the subsidiary senses that kept us from starving. We are no longer desperate for anything and we stop following our impulses. Real creatures of habit we become, and we start to expect everyone else to be the same. We get more and more excited at the prospect of doughier, sinkier sofas, a bottle of red, a moo-vie? Bed at 10 for an early start?
But imagine this one impossible day. With no plan, with no wild programme. Waking up in your own bed with only your world and your resources. Do nothing? Do everything?? In our mad rush to make the most of our time we end up leaving ourselves no space to play. There can be no doubt, good play is half spontaneity, half activity. But how can you be spontaneous in your own back yard??
Well, very if you let yourself rediscover it. I am no master, don’t get me wrong. I am blessed by where and how I live, but 6 out of 7 I am fully asleep to it. So, I had a visitor! For the first time in nearly 2 years, I had fresh eyes on my porch. Go through the motions all you like, see the spots and hit the views, but Edinburgh is unbelievable fun. I am no tour guide and Aidan is no tourist, but we basically stormed the city up and down and still only managed to scratch the surface.
In a single 24 hour swoop we beheld beauty, rewrote the rules of Guess Who, shopped a ludicrous hat, looked down from a mountain, blinded ourselves in World of Illusions, rewrote the lyrics to R.E.M, got chased by a street cleaner, swallowed Edinburgh’s finest coffee, doubled over laughing, watched a random 17piece jazz band, went for noodles, unleashed a Kraken, sang in a trad bar at the top of our lungs, and invented only a hundred puns on everything in-between.
Its the weekend again. Give yourself a day to play