Monday, July 28, 2008

Fringe-ing in Winnipeg!

Dave and I arrived in Winnipeg last Thursday, and have been living at its famed Fringe Festival ever since. For those of you unfamiliar with this event, the Fringe Festival is a celebration of independent theatre and street performers. Over 10-12 days, plays are performed in improvised venues that are clustered in near proximity to one another, and audiences choose the play they will attend and pay a small fee to be admitted. These festivals happen all over the country, moving from east to west.

Personally, I like The Fringe much better than regular theatre -- not only is it more experimental, interesting, and affordable, but the smaller venue sizes (and thus smaller audiences) makes the performances both intimate and unique. The audience, in a sense, is a whole other character within the play. Performers often interact with their audiences in some direct fashion, such as to stop to say "God bless you!" to someone sneezing, or to flirt, or to encourage a singalong. Dave was included in two shows, once as a dancing man-ho, and another time as the object of affection of a lovelorn German rock queen. (So you know, this can be avoided if you sit farther back than the first few rows... but that takes the fun out of it!) ;-)

As I mentioned before, the Fringe Festival will be hitting other cities. Saskatoon is next, I think, followed by Edmonton and Vancouver. If you live in a city expecting a Fringe this year, do consider going to see a play. I cannot emphasize strongly enough what a great time Fringing is. However, it can be a bit intimidating, to decide from all the available plays... so, to help you out, I will list a few shows that Dave and I enjoyed.
  • "Teaching the Fringe" by Keir Cutler: Based on a letter of scathing criticism Keir received for a former play. He breaks it down in a hysterically funny manner.
  • "Die Roten Punkte: Supermusicante": Musical comedy duo parody German rock stars. Fantastic show, catchy tunes, and I laughed until I hurt!
  • "Totem Figures" by TJ Dawe: Vancouver playwright and established Fringe deity, TJ does a 1.5-hour autobiography about his personal mythology, and its role in his life.
  • "The B-List": Trio of drag starlets performing a hysterically funny post-rehab musical.
  • "Singing at the Edge of the World": Gifted storyteller Randy Rutherford tells his autobiographical story of coping with congenital hearing loss while living the bohemian dream in Alaska. Touching, funny, and utterly spellbinding.
  • "The Further Adventures of Antoine Feval": Chris Gibbs spins an amusing yarn from the perspective of a clueless assistant to a detective.

Other neat shows include Hot Pink's Busty Rhymes, Jem Rolls: How I learned to stop worrying and love the mall, and Killing Kevin Spacey.

Anyhow, for those of you in or near Saskatoon, Edmonton, Vancouver, or Victoria, go and see some of these shows! Enjoy!

1 comment:

pseudohistorian said...

It was cool running into you at the Fringe, after all this time...and quite an interesting adventure tracking you down online. ;)

I would generally agree with your Fringe picks, especially Chris Gibbs--though some of that agreement is more from reputation than actually having seen the shows in question.