Edinbourgh Festival '99: Reviews - Diary

Riggs O'Hara Director of Women of Troy: 2099
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The Independent Culture
WELCOME TO the Edinburgh Festival said the Lion to the Christians. The place is filled with students who can't afford Tuscany so spend their time sitting down and drinking or standing up and telling jokes. Does this sound like sour grapes? Well, it is.

After working for a year on Euripides' The Trojan Women in a new adaptation by Courttia Newland, we thought the world was waiting for us: we had the publicity behind Courttia's new book, Society Within, brilliant actors, a production going from street to classical via commedia dell'arte, and a sold-out run in London.

After the agony of adjusting to the let-down, analysis set in. One suggestion was to change the colour of the leading lady's shoes (she's barefoot), another was to buy my dog a coat with "Women of Troy" printed on it - still no audience, but we kept going, hoping word would get around - after all everyone thinks it's amazing. We did what we wanted and we're right. That's enough.

So time to start thinking about the next one. Will we come back? Can we afford it? Have we learnt anything? Yes. Don't come up without a substantial publicity budget, although we will continue to put the work before the sales and hope others will discover us. It's hard but it can't stop the work. Noel Coward once said: "A bad review can ruin your breakfast, but it must never interfere with lunch."

Pleasance, Venue 33, 6.50pm, to 30 August

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