The Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is my favourite festival. And counting down to the Fringe is like counting down to Christmas. When I was a child, I used to ask my parents, Don’t you wish Christmas was tomorrow? Mum would sigh and Dad would grumble in their grownup ways saying that they didn’t wish Christmas was tomorrow because they weren’t ready. I would explain that if Christmas was tomorrow they would be ready! They didn’t buy it.
Anyway, every year as soon as Folkfest is over I start getting excited about the Fringe. I already have my program and some show tickets, and my volunteering schedule for the beer tent. I drove by the grounds last night and saw the barricades on some of the roads. I’m clicking Maybe on all the Facebook events and trying to figure out how many I can see. I’m looking forward to the parade, the food stands (especially Rustixx pizza), the out-of-town visitors, the excitement … but at the same time I’m feeling like one of those grown-ups who has a to-do list that has to happen first.
One of the things on my personal to-do list is to get caught up writing about other performances I’ve seen, so I can start the season fresh. That will appear here in the next few days.
The other things are about getting everything ready for the new show that I’m producing, Sonder, with our company The ? Collective (you can pronounce that however you want, but we usually say “the question mark collective” – our twitter handle is @theqmcollective). A friend and I put together a lottery entry last fall and were lucky enough to get selected to perform in a Fringe lottery venue, King Edward School. That’s Venue 5, the elementary school, the low white building closer to the Fringe grounds, as opposed to the Academy which is the older brick building across the street. My friend, Jake Tkaczyk, took on the roles of director and creation facilitator, gathering a small group of Red Deer College students to explore themes of interconnectedness and meaningful moments in a collaborative creation process. The title Sonder came from the tumblr blog Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, in which the writer, John Koenig, coins many words for interesting concepts – in this case the realization that each random passer-by is living a life as vivid and complex as one’s own. As the work slowly took shape, Collette Radau contributed as dramaturg, Alex Boldt responded with original music and soundscapes, and all of us told and listened to many stories.
What we’ve come up with uses the techniques of performance art, movement, recitation, and narrative scenes real and surreal to show a series of moments in different people’s lives, from the everyday to the magical, funny and poignant and sometimes disturbing. We’re excited about showing our creation to the Fringe community, and we’re also excited about experiencing the Fringe from the inside. I’m the only one who’s been involved with a show in the past (as stage manager for WaMo Productions’ God on God 2013, 3 stars in the VUE and the Journal). Some of the company members will be attending their first Edmonton Fringe, and I’m almost as excited about showing them the festival that made me fall in love with theatre in the first place.
But as I said at the beginning, I’ve got a to-do list between me and opening night (Thursday Aug 14th at 10 pm by the way). The rest of our company arrives in town today, and our tech rehearsal is this afternoon. We have posters to hang, handbills to hand out, programs to print, buttons to sell, and a parade to entertain you in (Thursday Aug 14th, 7:30 pm, Fringe grounds). We have a blog, a website, a Facebook event and page, a twitter account, and an indiegogo campaign (running til the 21st).
And we have tickets at the box offices for all our performances, $11 adult, $9 student/senior. We’d love to see you there!
- Thurs Aug 14th, 10 pm (opening)
- Sun Aug 17th, 9 pm
- Mon Aug 18th, 12:15 pm
- Wed Aug 20th, 11:30 pm
- Thurs Aug 21st, 4:00 pm
- Sat Aug 23rd, 6:45 pm (closing)
Sonder cast rehearses family scene. Erin Pettifor as the mother comforts her children (Julia Van Dam, Evan Macleod).
Sonder cast creates funeral vignette. Evan Macleod as Doug the deceased. Mourners left to right: Julia Van Dam, Emily Cupples, Tyler Johnson, Brittany Martyshuk.