This is the most delightful tour I've ever been on. It feels like
I've stepped back a hundred years, into a vaudeville travelling
fairground, complete with several creaky vintage wooden tents, red
and white candy-striped walls, red velvet curtains, a ferris wheel
and even a freak show. This is where I work - The Garden of
Unearthly Delights, the festival playground of Adelaide Fringe.
Every day I ride my bike for about ten minutes past lovely Adelaide
stone houses and through the botanic gardens, to arrive at the gate.
When I arrive the place is dead, save for people unloading and
setting up for the night to come.
The place comes alive at 6pm, as the trees are lit up with beautiful
coloured lights, the ferris wheel starts turning, and all sorts of
vintage costume characters spruik their wares - we are among them.
Paula and I get dressed in our gothic finery as August and Gertrude,
and hit the garden to convince people to come and see our show. We
hand out flyers, and every now and then someone says, "Oh I saw it
last night, it was fabulous." And then of course Paula announces in
a loud voice to everyone nearby, "Did you hear that? She said it was
fabulous! She thoroughly recommends The Grimstones." Each night in
the audience we see several people we've tried our luck on, so we
know it works.
Our tech crew is fantastic, and we are having a nice time getting to
know the boys from Sherlock Holmes, the show after ours - we spend a
fair bit of time rubbing shoulders in the dressing room so it's good
to feel friendly with them. After we've taken our bows for our show,
we head straight out the front door with our case of books, and start
selling them. I'm getting better at this too - as people walk out
the door, if they meet my eyes I ask if they'd like a look at the
book. Soon we're surrounded by people leafing through them, and
invariably several decide to buy - then it's a fast juggle of money,
book signing, friendly chatter and still trying to keep an eye out
for other potential customers. Paula and I are a pretty good team now.
Once we're all packed up, the festival is in full swing, and with a
simple flash of our artist's pass we can get into any show for free.
We've been making the most of it, taking it in turns to stay late and
see shows. In my case it's a little tricky working out which are
going to be suitable for Deaf people - sometimes I luck out nicely,
but last night was full of shows with talking, a bit of a
disappointment for me.
And then it's a gorgeous bike ride home, and I always feel like I'm
flying. Home is Adelaide Caravan Park, nestled right next to the
city, but peaceful with beautiful trees and a nice sense of
community. Most of us are here for the festival and it feels very
friendly to get to know our neighbours.
Last week we were working full days, with tech runs, extra school
shows, and late night appearances at VIP events - exhausting. This
week however is lovely, and we are just doing our 6pm show. You
might think that leaves us with all day free, but actually we only
have the morning. At 2pm we settle down for a nap, then head into
the festival to get ready for the show. The morning is taken up with
admin, grocery shopping, filling the gas bottles and other odd jobs.
And in between, I work my journal or make art. It's lovely, a
beautiful lifestyle. I do feel as though I'm living in a bubble
though, without much contact with the real world. It's an easy
delightful bubble and I love it in here, though part of me is a bit
spun out by how surreal it is - I wouldn't mind touching some "real
life" at some point soon, just to remember what it's like. In the
meantime though, I'm blissing out!