Monday, August 27, 2012

Edinburgh Day 6: The Scottish National Museum, Greek Gods and Japanese Imperial Dance Music

I'll try to keep this short.


I started the day with a nice breakfast and a bit of writing at the Elephant House, then went to get a ticket to a Fringe show I'd been eyeing up. Unfortunately it was sold out (for future reference: gotta be in quick) but that meant I could get a ticket to another show it had clashed with: Unmythable.

I still had some time to spare, so I went in search of the Scottish National Museum. I started with the ancient peoples section, thinking that the museum really wasn't that big for a national museum, though very well-designed and modern. It had artwork interspersed with the exhibits, and everything was beautifully presented with enough space and interest so that it didn't all blur together. I finished with the ancient peoples section and went to look for other exhibits, and realised the building I had thought was the entire museum was actually just the smallest wing. The main parts of the museum were still to come, housed around an incredible Victorian atrium. I didn't have enough time left, so I decided to make a return visit.

Unmythable was very good, with three guys playing a multitude of parts and encouraging the audience to join in as Argonauts. I especially liked the scene where two of the actors were staging an argument between Zeus, Demeter, Hades and Persephone, with part-changing almost every sentence. There were songs and free olives.

After another stint at the museum, where I saw Dolly the cloned sheep and some incredible silver ships used to hold cutlery, I went to a book festival talk about writing YA and saw my last Edinburgh International Festival concert: imperial Japanese music and dance.

It was very interesting, with all the musicians still and poised as they played their instruments. Men in beautiful costumes stepped in slow patterns that reminded me of tai chi, and later wore masks and added swords, spears and shields to their costumes. At one point an instrument played a few notes that sounded almost exactly like the beginning of the theme tune to Star Trek: The Next Generation, and I wondered if the Star Trek composers had borrowed the notes.

I went back to the book festival for a bit to hear some audio compositions, and finished my evening just as the fireworks were going off over the castle.


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