Entertainment

Army at the Fringe challenges audiences to see the armed forces in a new light

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Senior Army officers hope to challenge public views of the military as their program for this year’s Fringe gets underway.

Official events will be available in Army at the Fringe, including a one-person play titled Heroin To Hero that follows the journey of former heroin addict Paul Boggie in the Craigentinny area of ​​Edinburgh. .

Mr. Boggie gave up heroin at age 30 and went on to join the Scots Guard. After six months, he found himself on duty at Buckingham Palace, protecting the Queen.

Actor Tony McGeevor, who also served in the Army, plays Mr Boggie in the play.

“It’s really a story of redemption, of rebirth, but we’re also trying to break the stigma of heroin addiction and how society perceives heroin addicts,” he said.

Mr McGeevor said the play was very topical due to the controversy surrounding drug deaths in Scotland.

“Scotland has the worst heroin death rate,” he said. “I feel like the theater isn’t doing enough so here I’m trying to tell Paul’s story to reach as many people as possible.”

Mr McGeevor was the only actor on the show and said it was a “challenge”.

He added: “The reason is that Paul is his own show, so this fits the piece. I’m trying to challenge myself as an actor and a person.

“It’s been a long time since I challenged myself mentally and physically.”

Mr McGeevor went to drama school after his time in the Army and said he played “nothing but soldiers”, but thanked the Army for support.

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“Without Army at the Fringe, financially, this show would not have been possible. It has been widely publicized how difficult and expensive it is to put on a show in Edinburgh.

“MoD came to me and said: we will give you a free place, and that is the greatest support anyone can have.”

Neil Summerville plays Major Denis Rake in For Queen And Country, a film depicting the contribution of the LGBTQ+ community during the Second World War.

Major Rake was recruited into Winston Churchill’s special operations unit due to his homosexuality and was eventually executed as a drag queen for Nazi officers in Paris during the occupation.

“Churchill actively recruited gay men because at the time it was illegal and they had to live a fake life. So it was the perfect training to be a spy,” Mr. Summerville said.

“There was a lot of fun, a lot of laughter, there were also moments where his experience came back home and it was pretty raw.

I think if we challenged people to see the Army in a new way, I think they would be surprisedMajor General Alastair Bruce

“It’s a great story and it’s not well known. I have a feeling it’s because it doesn’t end in an easily acceptable tragedy.

“The great thing about this story is that it is a positive story. It’s about a gay man who has done great things.”

Major General Alastair Bruce, governor of Edinburgh Castle, said the audience would be “wobbled” by what was on offer.

“Army at the Fringe surprised me, audiences would be wobbly and it wouldn’t be what they expected,” he said.

“The military has in it people of all different types who have played their part and I don’t think people realize that.

“What Army at the Fringe points out is that the diversity celebrated today has brought so many people together who have perhaps been discriminated against, faced challenges in life, and still have second chances. by joining the Armed Forces and being a member of a team. .

“As governor of Edinburgh Castle, I have the honor of having this wonderful view of Edinburgh and throughout the Fringe, which is alive with art and culture, challenges us to think again and see the world. gender in a different way.

“I think if we challenged people to see the Army in a new way, I think they’d be surprised.”

Heroin To Hero runs until August 28 at 7:15 p.m. and For Queen And Country is performed until August 14 at 8:30 p.m., both at the Army Reserve Center on East Claremont Street .

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/army-at-the-fringe-challenges-audiences-to-look-at-armed-forces-in-new-light-41892694.html Army at the Fringe challenges audiences to see the armed forces in a new light

Fry Electronics Team

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