How To Discuss Art

A Guide on How to Impress at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

When arriving at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, it is important for the non-engendered, post-racial, pre-spiritual, post-capitalist, Green, demi-socialist, post-Tory liberal Arts pundit to know how to present herself (we use the feminine third-person singular reflexive pronoun at the Fringe because the inherent oppressive patriarchy of the English language must be resisted). Herewith a comprehensive guide on how to impress your fellow vegans as you stride with purpose from theatre to theatre, commenting eloquently on theatrical criteria and laying down your spirit in the name of Art. 

  1. With every show you see, construct a detailed narrative criticism to ‘outcritique’ your fellow punters with afterwards. Deliver it as if you are thinking on the spot as you walk out the theatre.
  1. Remember to fix your listener in the eye as you inform them of the necessity of artistic licence. Point your hands wildly as you do so. The wilder the hand gestures, the better the critic you are.
  1. Make a point of meeting the actors after every show you see and discussing the artistic integrity of the piece with them. Make sure to use the words ‘integrity’, ‘meditative’ and ‘poignancy’.
  1. Whenever there is a laugh line in a play, hold your chin pensively in your hand and squint your eyes to show you are analysing the humour.
  1. Learn how to spot bawdy comedies. You can then wave your hand at every poster for such shows you walk past and remark to your companions, ‘low art’.
  1. See the Cambridge Footlights, and afterwards say they were better in your day.
  1. Whenever you are about to say something, consider whether it is either erudite theatre critique or a searing condemnation of capitalism. If it is neither, don’t say it.
  1. See as many Free Fringe shows as you can, claiming that you don’t believe in exchanging money for Art.
  1. Get your friends as drunk as possible before a show. That way they will have no idea what the play is about, and you will be able to say whatever you want whilst having them rely on your critical insights even more than if they had been sober.
  1. Practise your thespian voice before arriving. People on the street will mistake you for an actor, and you can mutter wistfully that RADA did nothing for you.
  1. Memorise all the venues beforehand, and, if possible, a history of their artistic directors.
  1. Have a copy of The Stage magazine on you at all times. You don’t want to look like a maverick.
  1. Wear clothes that take the recognisable, such as a tweed suit, and twist it, for example by rolling the trousers above your knees and painting one sleeve red. You want to look like a maverick.
  1. Find the most bohemian theatre company you can, and offer to help them flyer on the Royal Mile. Say you are doing it in the name of Art.
  1. Make sure there is at least one show you walk out of, sigh deeply and whisper: ‘That, is why I love theatre.’

With these instructions in hand, today’s modern liberal intellectual vegan supranational cosmopolitan-esque theatre-goer can attend the Edinburgh Festival Fringe safe in the knowledge that their intellectual integrity will survive intact. And remember, if in doubt, quote Laurence Olivier.


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