Archive for July, 2018

Censorship Sleeps and The Mouth Speaks

In the theatre there is no censorship which makes the performers free to express themselves in any way they choose. On television, the performers are not free, they are restricted to a list of rules, so you only see the bits that ‘The Powers That Be’ choose for you to see. Ed Fest Street Theatre Top O The Mile

In theatre you can see the entire scene. You, and you alone, can direct your eye to any part of what is going within the space you inhabit, all around you, at any given moment. It is your eye, not the eye of the camera, that fixes the scene for you.

You can choose to watch the audience – which, in my opinion, is often more interesting: an older woman struggling to open the cap of a tub of Pringles; a child dripping his ice cream all over his new shirt then abandons the cone and starts licking his shirt; a young couple practically having sex in the front row which annoys you a bit and makes you jealous a bit too; the staff at the doors whispering to each other; the vendors trying to keep a happy smile whilst their eyes are dim; the ushers leaning on the back walls and watching the show so intently that they have not noticed you asking them for a program.


You can spend your entire evening staring at the ceiling, the chandelier, the architecture, the fine gilded boxes and being dazzled with moods and intensity and patterns of the the lighting displays.

On screen, we can only imagine the smells of the scene we are given; the scent of the flowers; the roast cooking on a stove; the freshly-baked bread in the oven; the urine soaked-lanes.

And we can only imagine what the velvet, silk and rough hessian that we are looking at feels like under our skin. In order to feel these rich textures, one has to go to the hotel, the stately home, the cafe, the bar, the retail outlet and run these materials through our fingers. Only then can we fully experience its magnificence.

In the theatre, we can smell the polish, the popcorn, the coke, the hot dogs, the ice cream and the wine and the toilet smells (WARNING: this is not a healthy eating blog). And, ironically, these things are the very things that would make one wished that they had stayed at home in a darkened room.

Ed Fest Fringe with Hladkys

My point is, that on television, you are being fed; in the theatre, you are feasting.

Before I go on, let me define ‘theatre’: a space, a performer and an audience. That is all.

Theatre is a social experience. You collectively watch the spectacle and each of you have a unique view – the one you can only have, which is that from your own perspective. No-one in the audience has the same view as you. Your view is unique to you and you alone.

But you share the space. You share the spectacle. You share the audience. You share the noises, smells and textures within and without of the piece and you share the reverberations and euphoria of a collective laugh, sigh, gasp or clap. And at the end of it all you can critique it and discuss it with your friends and some strangers. You were all there. Only those who attended have witnessed what happened. Perhaps only a few of you. Maybe twenty or fifty or one hundred or three hundred.
Three hundred people sounds like a lot of people – but its not really a very lot compared with those who have watched the same film or TV show – they are usually in the millions and thousands. And they were not actually watching it with you. Nor were they necessarily watching it at the same time, day and hour of you.

They may have watched the same thing that you watched at different times across days, months, decades.

So, in that vein, you have had a unique experience and you have shared it with relatively very few people. You are in a unique club.

Even when the show goes up the next night, only you and those who attended on the night you went, have had the same experiences as you. No live performance is ever the same night after night. Firstly, the audience is different, some performers may have changed, the weather will be different, the actors have changed since the previous evening. And, above all, the audience has drastically changed.

In any act of theatre, you are free in a way that watching a screen does not. There is a place for screen, of course, and 3-D is also interesting – and all that, but with live theatre, you are immersed in a collective experience that is happening at that very place and time. It is LIVE and REAL – even if they are only pretending. And it only involves those who have witnessed it on that day, that hour, that moment. It is unique.

BlueEyedLassie Keara with Camera Cover Shot

And, in the theatre, you can heckle the performer and the artiste will hear you, unlike when you are shouting at the telly – no-one has heard you scream.

In theatre, the performer – especially if it is a comedian – will respond and at this point you will know very quickly what the difference is between the screen and the live event and that is because you will be sweating in your pants, about to piss yourself  – and not in a good way – and then you will finally and definitely know that you are alive.

So, come out of your box and into the street, the tent, the garden, the crumbling facade of that once grande building, the tent, the cave and the underground city passageways – and dance with us, sing with us, free your soul with us, create creative anarchy with us and enter some dens of iniquity with us and get drunk with us Itinerant Minstrels this August whilst ‘Censorship sleeps and the mouth speaks’*

Keara’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe Show 2018 -FREE  

* Augusto Boal, Theatre of the Oppressed, New Edition, 2000, Pluto Press.




Read the entire program before you attend. You could do it in about 2 weeks if you leave out sleeping.

Fringe Brochure 2018

Circle everything that sounds and looks good to you. Then discuss with your peers on stuff they can recommend. Then whittle it down, book a few tickets, diarise a few recommended shows, FREE and PAID.

Google these guys to see what others are saying about them. But make up your own mind.

Book travel and accomm. EARLY! Consider camping. Flat shares etc.


Unless, of course, you are actually sleeping with them at their request.

Bring comfortable shoes; sunglasses; factor 30-50+; light clothing; a jumper; tights; socks; plasters; a raincoat; strong medicine; an umbrella and some AntiFreeze.

Update your Emergency Contact Details; inform a Next of Kin; take all your money out of the bank NOW and keep it inside your pants or bra, as you will have no chance at the large queues at the ATM later – and even if you do get to one with no queue, there will be no money in that one. So you will basically miss everything.

Try not to make eye-contact with every Street Marketeer who smiles at you – it’s a trap.
Only take flyers from agents who properly engage you in a fun, funny and informative way. And those who look like they are about to cry. Take a leaflet from them, and give them some money for lunch and a coke. They may be working for free. I know! It happens! I know it’s wrong. I pay all my staff the going rate. I also feed them.

Keara at Edinburgh Royal Mile

Go to shows that you will never see on telly. See comedians who will never get on telly because they are too ‘radical’ for telly and there is a big queue around the block for them. Get in that queue even if you don’t know their name. The People know. The People always know!

Tip the Free Fringers at least £5 if you liked the show, £8/10 if you really liked it, £15 if you loved it and want the artist to rise up in their career. – Or if you want to sleep with them. If you really want to sleep them give them £20 and buy them a cocktail. It’s a whore’s profession, after all. And we love a cocktail. All kinds of cocktails.

Keara Page on Fringe Brochure

Don’t believe the hype. Go with your instincts. BIG POSTERS are only BIG because some BIG FAT CAT is making money from them. Some of these shows will be great. Some will be good. Some are just bland. And some are bloody dreadful. The artiste won’t make much anyway. Around 10% is the going rate for these paid show. Just saying. (The Stand Comedy Club is an exception.)

In terms of quality, it’s not so different for the FREE shows either – and often better.

Firstly, you only pay if you liked the show. Secondly, the performer is not losing loads of money to be there as they are not giving a huge cut to their agent/venue/promoter etc. The venues of the Free Fringe shows do not take any money for the hire of the room. Which is amazing. But they relish the crowds coming in and spending at the bar. That is the deal. Win/Win! Kerching!

But there are expenses for the performers at the non-paying shows such as travel, accommodation, food, marketing materials, props, fees of the main program, printing costs for scripts, hiring Street Marketeers, technical staff, door staff etc. and, of course, time writing and promoting their shows in the months before the Fringe even begins.

Oh, that was a rant. But I think it needed to be said, as I always think that FREE is a wee bit of a misdemeanor.  Okay, back to the funnies.

The Fringe is an amazing place to be in August. Enjoy every moment!

And, yes, celebrities do LOVE to take Selfies with you. Ask for one, and they will love it. Ask for two, they will hate you.

They are all Narcissists and they need their ‘supply’. You are doing them a favour. Snap snappity! Snap! But do not expect them to linger, they have stuff to do, after all. Far more important stuff that you are doing, of course! Always remember that when engaging with ‘The Talent’.  They are more important than you, according to them and themselves. And, always remember that you are having far more fun than they are. Always.

Ed Fest Street Theatre Top O The Mile

BUT, if you are a fairly new artiste in a VIP bar – leave them the fuck alone. They are chilling in there for a reason. You will look like a prick if you ask for a ‘Selfie’ in there. And everyone will know you are a novice.

Just say, “Hi Sarah, Dara, Ruby, Katherine, Kathy, Margaret, Frankie, Keara (I wish!)… can’t stop I’ve got a meeting on the balcony.” And they’ll say, “Who was that?”


See lots of street theatre and tip them too (esp if you have enjoyed it up to now but had to go for your train/show/Parole Officer before The End).

Get some sleep. Drink some water. Eat healthily. Don’t be a hero. Too many drugs and too much booze does not make a show better. It ruins it for you, the audience and the hard-working artiste. And someone might punch you or vice-versa and either way you will wake up in the jail.

Be cool.

And, above all, come to MY BLOODY SHOW!!!  It’s FREE! And it’s THE BEST SHOW ON THE FRINGE in a nice hotel with a lovely COCKTAIL BAR and BEER GARDEN for milling and DRINKING with me after the show.


Keara Reduced Image for Fringe


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