At the beginning of September, I was still getting used to having a full time job again and life was about to get even busier with the start of the Dublin Fringe Festival.
The last time I volunteered for the Fringe was in 2004. I wasn’t in youth theatre any more and it had been a while since I’d been on stage, or done anything theatrical in any way, shape or form. And I missed it. I didn’t realise how much I much I missed it until I started volunteering for the Fringe. I didn’t even last the whole festival because helping out and watching other people have all the fun made me so miserable. I think it was one of the things that finally pushed me towards studying drama.
I was a bit reluctant to volunteer this year because of my miserable experience the last time but I decided it had helped me get on the right path, and I should give it another change. I thought it would be a good way to find out what sort of work was being creating in Dublin, figure out a bit about the different companies in the city and what they’re up to and meet like-minded people.
And it worked out pretty well! I was insanely busy – working all week and then volunteering for 4 hours a day on Saturdays and Sundays, and also trying to make time to go and see a few shows – but I enjoyed it. I did a few different shifts at different venues, working with different people and I had a great time. I had some great conversations with people with goals and ambitions that might be considered unconventional because they don’t revolve around making lots of money, people just like me! People were really easy to talk to and I was reminded of how much I’ve changed over the last four years. I’ve become much more confident and find it easier to start conversations with people I don’t know, I’m more sure of myself and feel that I have something to say that people will find worth listening to. I meet some great people, but I really make any new friends because I didn’t manage to get anyones number or e-mail address. I may be less shy than I used to be but I’m not that ballsy!
My favourite volunteering shift was the Saturday afternoon at Grand Canal Dock for a number of our-door performances. It was a beautiful, hot and sunny day and I was responsible for general crowd-control. I saw some great performances too. There was the physical performances inside a giant tube of water, which managed to be funny and beautiful, the guy “dancing” with a mechanical digger created a wonderful and powerful love story, and there was the two girls who hopped, skipped and jumped along a tight-rope – in high heels! They were untraditional, creative performances that the audience of families and small children loved. It was a really fun day.
I tried to go and see as many shows as I could, and take advantage of volunteer vouchers and concessions, but time-constraints made it difficult. I did go and see Little Gem at the Project with my mum and we both loved it. It was funny and touching and the three actresses were wonderful. I also saw Camille O’Sullivan (and friends) in the Speilgeltent for The Cat’s Meow. That was a great night out as well. I didn’t make it to La Clique, which I’m kicking myself for missing. I’ll definitely try and see it next year.
And just last Friday, I saw a wonderfully, weird show in the Samuel Beckett theatre called “I’m So Close It’s Not Even Funny.” It had a lot of the same themes as my dissertation piece and I think they managed to create the right sort of atmosphere for those themes. There was a lot of very clever multimedia that it reminded me of “Water”. It was a lovely and uplifting piece of theatre.
The last few weeks of theatre and work and running all over Dublin has left me exhausted but I enjoyed it immensely. I’m looking forward to the next Fringe Festival already! And next year, I want to be in it!