Of all the destinations to which I had dreamt of traveling, Scotland was not a place I had ever considered. Of course, when I got the chance to go to the Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world, with a group from my high school, I knew I had to go. Preparation for our trip, which would be in August, took place early in February. To many travelers, seven months may seem like an extended time to prepare for a trip; however, for my group it was just enough time. In those seven months we cast and rehearsed the musical Leader of the Pack so that we would be ready to perform in the American High School Theatre Festival in Edinburgh and raised money so that we could all pay for the trip.
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
Packing for a two-week trip to a foreign country is difficult in itself, but having to pack costumes and props for a musical excursion to a foreign country is even more so. Somehow, I shoved clothes, six pairs of shoes, toiletries, a curling iron, ten costumes, and a hand-made accordion into two bags. When we finally boarded the plane on that August morning, all of us were frenzied with excitement.
Our first two days were spent in London, England, sightseeing and shopping. From there, we took the train to Edinburgh. My first thoughts when I stepped off of the train into the cool, crisp air were about the beauty of my surroundings. Everything was green and lush; as I would find out later, this was due to the excessive amounts of rain. Despite the rain, I’ve never had a more exciting experience. The castles and underground vaults of the city hold a vast amount of history, but are also very aesthetically interesting, making for fascinating tours. We did a lot of shopping and touring, but mostly focused on the theatrical events taking place. The Festival Fringe attracts hundreds of innovative, awe-inspiring acts, shows, and people, most of whom advertise and perform on the Royal Mile, the main street in Edinburgh. On average, I attended at least two shows a day, my favorite of which was a political play entitledDeath Song.
For the first few days in Scotland, my parents flew over and toured with our school group. They stayed at the cutest bed-and-breakfast, and I loved having them there to see me perform with such a great cast. While in Scotland, the cast stayed in dorms at the University of Edinburgh. Our accommodations were nice, except for the lack of working electrical sockets; before each show, the girls in the show would have to sit in the hallway curling our hair. It paid off, however, and we had an amazing time performing in our little venue. Our cast of seven students did four performances in Pilrig Church Hall. Never have I felt so much excitement and love from a cast as I did every night during warm-ups before we went on-stage. I suppose that our seven months together had allowed us to learn all about each other and become a family of thespians. Our family was extended while in Scotland because we met other students from around the country who were also participating in the festival. Even today, I keep up with students from Hawaii and California.
My experience in Scotland was what one of the girls from California described as “living in a fairy tale”. Not only did I learn my way around the city of Edinburgh, I learned about historic places, about performing in a foreign country, about growing socially and theatrically.
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