Into the Unknown with Dougie Mackay: Fringe Q&A

How would you describe your show in one sentence?

A wild storytelling adventure through Scotland’s mythic landscape

Is this a new show or have you performed it elsewhere?

This show was created for The Edge Festival 2017, but it has evolved a fair bit since then, gaining new stories and greater depth.

Is this your first visit to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

This is my first time performing at the Fringe, although I’ve enjoyed it as a punter for many years. I love the diversity, excitement and range of creativity in the city at that time.  There’s always such a buzz and I’m looking forward to being a part of it and offering something a wee bit different, sharing with visitors and locals alike.

I’m expecting people from all over the world, eagerly seeking the next sensation, street performers jostling for attention, unexpected delights, occasional cringe-worthy comedy, more promo flyers than you can shake a stick at, and a big party at the end of it.

How have you been preparing for the Fringe? How has the show developed/changed since your original idea?

I find the stories that I love and choose to work with evolve over time.  I like to visit the landscapes where they are set to get a real sense of the environment, sounds, wildlife and the people. I’ll go on a journey looking for story elements up on the North coast, or the Western Highlands, musing a certain story all the while. Giving that sort of attention to a story brings out a range of textures that I think make the stories more striking and real.

My repertoire of stories has also grown, taking on certain themes that I wouldn’t work with when I started, so I think there’s a greater range of tales and emotions within this show, which gives a more satisfying journey overall.

Douglas storytelling in natureWhat do you think sets your show apart from all the other Festival offerings?

There’s something in the rawness of these old tales that’s really striking in the modern world, like they cut through the hum drum & remind us that the world can be magical, hilarious, dangerous and tender all at the same time.

Storytelling is still somewhat under the radar, but when people experience it for the first time often there’s a mix of surprise & delight, with a yearning for more. Some people say that postmodern culture is “myth starved” and Scotland has such fine stories that it’s ideal for satisfying that hunger.

For people to come from all over the world, to a Festival as immense as the Fringe and not have the opportunity to experience traditional Scottish tales would be a tragedy. I want to share something old, gnarly and rooted in this land and culture, yet forward thinking, relevant and fresh, in the spirit of the ceilidh and with a touch of Highland hospitality.

What’s the show that you don’t want to miss at this year’s Fringe?

I want to see Rachel Parris’ show as she’s hilarious on The Mash Report. Laugh out loud funny with astute social commentary.

I’m looking forward to the Henna and Walk the Oars – storytelling shows by friends Peter Chand and Svend Erik respectively – as it’s always good to get inspiration from fellow artists. Also, Mairi Campbell’s new show, Auld Lang Syne, as Pulse was excellent, and Bothy Culture by The GRIT Orchestra at the Edinburgh International Festival should be some party.

Some of the best things I’ve seen in recent years have come through recommendations, so I’ll wait until we get into August a bit and see what people are raving about.  A few years ago, Psst Psst was so funny my daughter fell off her seat laughing. It was a clowning circus show and was excellent, so maybe I’ll seek out something similar this year.

If your show was a place in Edinburgh, which place would it be and why?

It would be one of those gullies around Arthur’s Seat that you don’t realize exists till you stumble upon them or follow the painted crowds on Beltane morn. It has fine views across the Forth and to the hills northwards, yet is a world all to itself, just enough shelter yet open to the elements.  Somewhere hidden but where the best semi-mythical Edinburgh parties happen.

Witches, Wee Folk & Watery Beasties
2-12 August, 3pm (1hr)

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