All Blog posts

Be Prepared: My Edinburgh

8th Aug 2016

Ian Bonar and Rob Watt told us all about the best ways to Be Prepared for the Edinburgh Fringe, as they bring their new show to Underbelly as part of our Untapped season of new writing, until 28 August at Underbelly Cowgate's Big Belly.

Ian Bonar

Have you performed at the Fringe before?

Nope. Unbelievably, I’ve never even been to the Festival as a punter. Literally as green as they come. Baptism of/by/with fire. It’s going to be a lot of firsts as this is also my debut play - but I feel very lucky to be premiering it as part of Underbelly Untapped withh such a great team around me. Exciting times.

Where’s your favourite spot in Edinburgh?

I’ve only ever passed through Edinburgh once - en route up to the north coast to meet a mate when I was about 21. I got ‘mugged’ for £2.50 by some small children on a train platform somewhere on that trip. One of them pretended that his scar from having his appendix out was a stab wound. I showed him my identical one but he wasn’t having any of it. My Grandad - who is a massive inspiration for the show - was from Port Glasgow, and some of my family from my Dad’s side are still around there - hoping to get over to see my Great Aunt Jean at some point!

What will you be packing in your suitcase for the Fringe?

I’m awful at packing for anything, let alone a whole month. Coffee maker, some nice coffee and multivitamins? And my headphones. That should keep me going.

Do you know who Greyfriars Bobby is?

He’s that sad wee dog.

What’s the best show you’ve ever seen at the Fringe?

Can’t really answer this (see above) - but the best show I’ve seen that was at the fringe in 2014 was Lippy by Deadcentre. Just great, challenging, sometimes-silly, moving theatre… And the transfer of You Are Not Alone by Kim Noble, which, yeah, lived up to the hype.

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give (or have been given) about the Fringe?

All the advice I’ve been given so far has either been tips about where/how/when to get drunk, or tips on how to not go entirely fucking crazy doing a one man show ON YOUR OWN for a MONTH, as it CAN GET REALLY LONELY AND INTENSE UP THERE, YOU KNOW?

So. Yeah. Not worried about that at all.

To ceilidh or not to ceilidh?

Ceilidh. When I was a kid my Dad, who was very proud of his Scottish-ness, would put down masking tape in a cross on our carpet on New Year’s Eve, and me and my sister would pretend to do, like, Scottish sword dancing.  There are some great pictures somewhere of me in a makeshift kilt (my mum’s skirt) and a classic Russ Abbot C.U. Jimmy-style ginger wig/tartan beret combo. That’s obviously not a ceilidh but it’s as close as we got in Farnham.

What can audiences expect from your show?

OK, my amazing director Rob is much better at this than me, but: the show is about grief and memories and loss and I know that sounds really heavy but it’s definitely funny and surprising. I hope that it will connect at different times for different people - it’s a show where the audience very much comes on the journey with me, which I guess can be quite unsettling at times - but that’s good I think! It starts at a Quaker funeral, takes you to (amongst other places) Burma in World War Two, and then back again. I use a top-of-the-range Yamaha Portatone Keyboard, which has some of the best demos and pre-sets a child could buy in 1990. Oh, and I wear a really nice suit from Aquascutum in the show. (Still holding out for that sponsorship if you’re listening…guys?)

I’m very proud of it.  Come and see it.  Please. Even if it’s just to keep me company.

Rob Watt

Have you performed at the Fringe before?

The last time I ‘performed’ at the Fringe was in 1998 in a version of Hamlet - it got 5* from The Scotsman, on the last day! I am predominantly a director these days so have had a few shows at the Fringe over the last few years, notably the critically acclaimed Standby For Tape Back Up. I am very excited to be directing the world premiere of Ian Bonar’s Be Prepared this year.

Where’s your favourite spot in Edinburgh?

Sat in the Meadows on a sunny day away from the crowds!

What will you be packing in your suitcase for the Fringe?

Something for every weather eventuality!

Do you know who Greyfriars Bobby is?

He’s the dog you snog, right?

What’s the best show you’ve ever seen at the Fringe?

That is simple – You’re Not Alone by Kim Noble. I saw it and cried like a baby. Like Be Prepared, it gets to the guts of what makes us human and the need for us to connect.

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give (or have been given) about the Fringe?

PACE YOURSELF! It can feel like a month-long party so remember it’s a marathon and not a sprint. (I never remember.)

To ceilidh or not to ceilidh?

Always ceilidh!

What can audiences expect from your show?

Be Prepared is a story that is difficult to tell; Tom is prepared to try. It’s the moment when we try to explain how we feel but at a loss to which words to use. It’s a personal story that considers the death of a loved one, showing how messy, funny and confusing it all is… Expect to laugh, expect a classic Yamaha keyboard and expect to be enamoured by Tom.

Posted by Carlotta