Six Years Ago
I was at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland performing my one-woman show, Move on the Cha-Chas. If I had known what an overwhelming scene it was, I never would have had the courage to go.
World’s Largest Arts Festival
That summer, over 24,000 performers delivered 50,000 performances of 3200 different live shows in 300 venues, large and small, all around the city in THREE weeks! Amazingly, 2 million tickets were sold to audiences who came from every corner of the globe to watch shows running every hour on the hour, morning to night. Yikes! How in the world was I ever going to get anyone to see me?
As a Rookie
I was having a hard time navigating everything, along with performing every day (Sundays off). Thankfully, there was Fringe Central, a building with a snack bar, copy machines, bathrooms and friendly folks providing info and educational programs for us bewildered, newbie performers.
The Best Advice
At one of those programs, a strapping actor got up to share his hard-won advice as a Fringe veteran. His booming, stentorian voice filled the hall with his thick Scottish accent. “Jest deeew the waerrk!” he admonished hundreds of us, over and over. Jest deeew the waerrk!
In Other Words
Don’t worry about what others are or aren’t doing; don’t be sidetracked by the competition, the reviews, the press; don’t buy into everything you see or hear. Don’t get thrown off your game. Remember who you are and why you came. Do your show.
That sentence became my mantra. Every morning in Scotland I’d wake up and repeat “Jest deeew the waerrk!” Just do the work. I’m still saying it today.
It’s a rough time, isn’t it? This time of COVID-19, of political upheaval, of social injustice, of racial divides, of financial fear and worry, of hardship, of loneliness, of disease and death. There’s a lot to deal with.
What’s Your Work?
Caring for your family, your elderly parents, your young children, your patients, your garden, yourself. Pivoting your professional life, learning new skills, looking for a job, managing employees differently, keeping your business afloat. Marching and protesting, building coalitions, lifting your voice, writing letters, raising funds, fighting for change. Creating your art, making music, telling your stories, dancing your dances…
Whatever your work is, it’s yours and I honor it. I hope it can bring you a sense of joy and satisfaction. I hope you continue to find the energy to keep doing it, and doing it well.
From my work to yours, we are all in this together. And most importantly, please stay healthy and well.
PS: If you want to see more of my Fringe experience, here’s a link to a mini-travelogue. If you want to see how Edinburgh created a virtual Fringe this summer of 2020, here’s a link to their website.
Be the happy recipient of more great tips and techniques, along with intelligent musings on the state of communications, by signing up for Diane Ripstein’s regular NewsNotes right here.