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The Virtuous Burglar

This is possibly going to be the first post in an emerging category… and while technically it’s an abuse of my blog since it has nothing to do with writing or fantasy, hell, it’s my blog, so I’ll do it!  (And no one has yet told me that I can’t.  So there.)

I’m lighting designer for a production of the Virtuous Burglar, being performed at the Edinburgh Festival.  And while I’ve been lighting designer for plenty of stuff that I’m not going to name because, let’s face it, my artistic credentials aren’t exactly glorious and neither was it, I’ve got a good feeling about this one.  I mean, I say that now… I haven’t yet got up to Edinburgh and sat at the lighting desk and looked at a fixed rig shared with seven other shows and thought ‘oh shite what now’ but it is my contention that even if, even if this should happen, the Virtuous Burglar would probably still be worth the 54 minutes of your time that it currently runs at.

When I first read the script my initial thoughts were ‘oh god, it’s a farce, how depressing’.  I get depressed by farces as they’re usually not very funny.  With, that is, the notable exception of Michael Frayn’s Noises Off which goes down as one of the few bits of theatre where I’ve laughed so hard I’ve had an asthma attack.  (Michael Frayn = A Good Thing.  Go see plays by him.)  (Alistair Beaton = A Good Thing too.  Just in case you’re wondering.)  But then good news!  The Virtuous Burglar is by Dario Fo, who I was forced to study at AS-Level Drama and who despite the rigours of the AS-Level syllabus (designed to destroy any joy in anything) I loved.  In a kinda pedantic Italian way, but again, howled with laughter all the way through Accidental Death of an Anarchist.  So that was kinda a look-up.

Then we had the read-through.  These are soul-destroying occasions which as a technician you invariably leave with two thoughts:  1.  Oh my god what have I got myself into and 2. How on earth have the actors managed to do so much work on their texts already?  I haven’t even got a sharp pencil and a ground plan…

Yet strangely, even in the read-through, I was starting to giggle.  And by the first run it was really quite funny.  And even in the sound plot, another event guaranteed to undermine the strength of any reasonable soul, it was actually heading at high speed towards hilarious… don’t ask me why, don’t ask me how, certainly don’t ask me if I had anything to do with it because as this post presently stands I haven’t even touched a dimmer, let alone recorded its intensities into a cue… so the sneaky suspicion is growing on me that actually, this might almost be quite good.

With which in mind!  Let me do the flagrant advertising bit now and say, dear reader, if you are in Edinburgh in this coming month, the Virtuous Burglar is running at the Assembly Rooms for the whole festival at the comfortable hour of 2.15 p.m. and while I cannot yet guarantee that the lighting will be an LED-tastic orgy of sexy luminescence, I can promise you that though you have the face of iron and the hangover of a recklessly liberal Viking, you will laugh.  Lots.