Bursting the Andover Bubble: “Big Love” Travels to Scotland

The cast of “Big Love,” a production originally showcased on campus, took their show to the Edinburgh International Festival for two weeks this August. In addition to showcasing their rendition of the play to an international audience, the eight actors and actresses of the cast were also able to explore Scotland and attend other workshops.

Shyan Koul ’19, a performer, said, “It was an incredible experience, one, to just travel with the group. Performing it [at Andover] is one thing — showing it to the people around you, your classmates like teachers around here, maybe some local people — but to take it to another country in a completely different context at this theater festival for people all around the world, that was incredible. We took it outside of the Andover bubble which is not an opportunity that we get very often.”

The trip was led by Billy Murray, Allen Grimm, and Judith Wombwell, who were in charge of making sure the show ran smoothly.

“The Edinburgh Festival is just the most incredible theater festival, so it’s an honor to go there. It’s really exciting to be able to put your students in that situation where they are performing for an audience that are theatergoers, but aren’t parents or friends,” said Judith Wombwell, Department Chair in Theatre and Dance.

The festival is attended mostly by avid theatergoers and was a big contrast to the theater experience the cast members were used to at Andover. The audience expected high quality artistry and weren’t as easy to please, according to Cheyn Cole ’19.

“When we were in Scotland, the people who came to see our performance didn’t come because their friend was performing or their teacher told them to – they came because they wanted to see our show. We had get our set on stage before every show and break it down after within 15 minutes, so the next show could come into the space. Every space in the city was home to a show, and we were a part of that bustle,” said Cole in an email to The Phillipian.

Both the revered nature of the conference and the expectations of the audience pushed the actors and actresses to fully embody and explore their characters further.

Cole said, “I think that getting out of the campus environment allowed us to explore our characters more thoroughly and let go of what it looked like from the audience. Our show really evolved over the course of our run, and most of the members of the cast had an entirely new understanding of our characters by the end of our last show.”

In addition to the performances, the group was able to experience Scotland and travel together, which helped them grow closer as a  cast.

“I think as we got closer, we got more honest with ourselves and with the other people around us, which was really helpful as a performing group. It’s very nice to have somebody come up to you and say, ‘Hey I think you can do this a little better’ in the best way possible and we really understood what makes each other do well,,” said Koul.