I am home. Tired, with a million and one things to do, but home. And I want to put my thoughts and feelings about the festival to bed.
The hardest thing for me to realise is that the National Arts Festival, that I have attended about 15 times over the last twenty five years, is no longer my festival. I don’t understand what people want to see, I can’t get my head around what works and doesn’t work and I don’t get how repeat productions do better and better a second and third time around at a festival that should be launching brand new fringe work. I don’t get the tons of community theatre groups that have no audiences. I don’t get the hype around certain shows that are totally ordinary and how other gems are completely overlooked. I don’t get it. I realised that it wasn’t my festival when on my last day I decided to stay away and spent the day chatting to my friend rather than go into town and look for stuff to see.
The festival continues for the rest of the week. Shows will be sold out and shows will struggle. But as I drove home I tried to imagine what I would need to do to put on a successful show at Grahamstown. And the answer is that I have absolutely no idea.