Yesterday a couple of friends from Calgary were in town, so we made a plan to meet for lunch and then figure out what to see at the Fringe. We had early lunch at Maki Maki (I convinced them that for the authentic try-anything Edmonton experience they needed an erotic roll). Then we got out the program and the Fest Finder app and the ticket-buying website, and I suddenly realised (and said) that trying to find one play to show people how cool Edmonton Fringe was, was harder than trying to pick a movie together on a date with someone you didn’t know very well yet. Fortunately, they didn’t have to rush right back to the family they were visiting, so we did the Fringe my way. That is, we wandered Whyte Avenue, comparison-tasted cupcakes from fuss and from the Fringe vendor (I still think fuss is the best, although the Fringe vendor had some creative icing flavours such as brightly coloured bubble gum), watched a juggler, organized our routes to use the nice indoor bathrooms in the Arts Barn at every opportunity, ate frozen chocolate bananas, and went to five plays.
After that, I wanted to stay around to go to the midnight cabaret show, and we had a couple of hours in between, so we had supper and nice decaf coffee at Famoso. So we said goodbye just before midnight and I got in line for the cabaret show where I was supposed to meet one of the performers to pick up a CD he was burning for me, but unfortunately the show was very very sold out. The first time I’d tried to buy a ticket at the door and it didn’t work! Ah well. While I was hanging around outside seeing whether tweeting the piano player would pull any strings (it didn’t), I also had a nice conversation with the artist of Charlie: a hockey story and told him my family’s version of some of the stories.
So I collected my bike where I had stashed it in the morning, and went home. I am not sure if I’ll go to any performances today, or whether I’ll get on with recovery and life.
Also, at one of the plays we met up with my actor friend (by design) and saved seats for him and his friends and he and I caught up a bit more on what we’d each seen since we last saw each other. So that was fun too.
The five plays:
The Lesson – the Ionesco play. Classic Theatre of the Absurd works well at the Fringe.
Scratch: The Revengeance – this two-person, many-character original comedy by local artists was hilarious. I’ve never seen any sketch-type comedy where things didn’t drag at all between jokes; it just zipped right along being funny on funny, and incidentally occasionally obscene.
Cockwhisperer – a one-woman show, mostly telling various stories related to her sexual history. It was interesting that she grew up in Hamilton and was about my age. And some of it was funny or moving. But the whole thing was a bit disappointing to me because it could have been a lot more sex-positive, especially given the title and writeup.
Fatboy – this was funny in a very weird way. All the characters were in whiteface makeup and were sort of exaggerated archetypes. We were trying to figure out what genre it reminded us of, and I thought it was like the pantomime, what with the judge and the yelling couple and so on. One of my companions said, only with a lot more bad language and violence. We then looked up the description and it said that it was reminiscent of a Punch and Judy show and of Ubu Roi, “an 1896 precursor of theatre of the absurd”. Random, and I mostly liked it.
Rocket Sugar Factory Improv – We went to an improv show because I hadn’t been to one yet this year. This one mostly went on a theme of “today in history”, they’d get people to call out a year, then they’d look up what events happened on that day’s date that year and act it out. The events included Galileo Galilei demonstrating his telescope, the first version of Linux, and Pulcheria becoming empress of the Byzantine Empire.
The festival ends today. I don’t know if I’ll go … but I still want to meet up with Joel to get that cd, so hmm.