Edinburgh Guide  
Exhibitions in Edinburgh -- Scotland

http://www.edinburghguide.com/festival The largest online guide to the Edinburgh Festival

Mina (page 119)
Venue Rocket @ Kirk O'Field (124)
Address 140 The Pleasance, 530 4543

"The main thing for me is to create people that exist... Some people have this idea that theatre's not cinema, so you're not trying to make it real, everyone knows it's theatre. I disagree; my play's probably more filmic."
Andreas Beltzer, writer and director of the play Mina and occasional student is drinking cappucino in an Italian cafe that seems to be the crew's office - and his natural habitat. Coincidentally this is also the setting for his play.

Mina, he says, is "very much character based - you take a bunch of different people, throw them together & you see what happens - that's basically how I write." "I write very extensive histories to make sure I know them, and lots of sample dialogues to see what voice they use." He also believes in involving the actors as much as possible, feeling that otherwise they "are just regurgitating". "We include improvisation within the script in order for it to be as realistic as possible. The improv might bleed into the script - the script will be broken up and improv will happen for a few seconds or a minute, and then they'll go back to the script."

He is an English and History student at Edinburgh University, but has taken the scenic route to get there. Born in Sweden but raised in Switzerland, Andreas returned for Business School where he "learnt one thing - that I did not want to be a businessman." He then switched to the cafes of Paris, where he acquired a taste for literature and berets. "It was your standard `I want to be a bohemian' kind of life." Aware of this potential cliche he admits, "Oh God, yeah, very pretentious", laughing at the memory of his younger self, but adds, "it was a great time. I would say it was certainly one of the better cliches around." His Paris was one of "creative ambitious passionate people... who go to Paris for the reason that they are allowed to be like that there." A sort of refugee camp for the artistic. Then A-Levels in Oxford followed and by the time he arrived in Edinburgh he had set his heart on theatre. Although Swedish is his mother tongue, Andreas only writes in English, which he considers much richer.

The character of Mina is what the play is built around, but it is not the main role (she is somewhere between a supporting lead and a Hitchcockian McGuffin). She is "fascinating" but "reserved" and above all "mysterious... one of these people - who I think everyone's come across - who, when they walk into a room, they fill the room." Her arrival at a party in a restaurant reveals more about those around her than herself. It asks the question do we actually find out who this person is at all, or is it just a concoction of what everybody else thinks?.

Andreas himself has a very clear idea of who she is. He found pinning her character down was the hardest part of writing the play, even though only distorted fragments of it are ever revealed. He believes that "ambiguity is very important... I don't think life has endings with clear messages."

Mina is now on it's second fringe showing. It mixes humour and drama, and is well worth seeing.

Runs until 28 Aug at 5:30pm (7pm). Tickets £6 (£4)
Daniel Winterstein, 19th August 2001