The Party’s on…
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  Posted September 4th, 2015 by Zdenko  in Edmonton | 2 comments

Edmonton life

Text: Marcus Fernando
Pictures: Zdenko Kahlina

FRINGEOPOLIS… Fringe Theatre Festival
It was a jolly holiday with the 34th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival, SupercaliFRINGEilistic, in August 13-23, 2015!Take a historic neighborhood, add dozens of different venues, stir in performers from around the world, throw in a few hundred thousand audience members and let it grow over 11 days. The result: one Fringe Festival.
The Edmonton Fringe Theatre Festival hits the streets of Old Strathcona for 11 days of theatrical merriment. From noon to midnight daily, performers from around the globe and around the corner entertained audiences with song, dance, drama, comedy, and everything in between. Thousands of people packed the various Fringe venues daily, making Old Strathcona a see and be seen neighborhood. I am posting here couple of blogs from an interesting blogger who was one of the entertainers at the Fringe festival.

Edmonton Fringe Festival:

Greetings, Ex-Fringers!

Well, here we are on the morning after the night before. The last performances have performed, the sets have been cleared, the traders have moved out, and there is only the Tumbleweed of redundant show-posters blowing in the wind to remind us of the fun we’ve all just had. Sad…in a way, but so it must be!

After all, think of what happens now. All of those performers go somewhere else. Some stay in Edmonton, or Alberta, or Canada. Some (like us) go abroad to many far-flung parts of the world. Some might be taking their productions elsewhere, for more audiences to enjoy. Others might be heading back to more “conventional” jobs….whatever they might be. It’s wonderful, isn’t it? All these many and diverse people came together in one place at one time to contribute to the great theatre party that is Edmonton Fringe Festival. For a while, everything was intense, fast-paced, even manic…but now it all returns to normal.

What should we call this day after the final day? The “Post-Ultimate” day, possibly? A day of sadness (possibly), tidying up (almost certainly), Rest and Recuperation (hopefully) and travel (maybe). As I write this, The Dragon wagon II is parked outside, with sets and costumes from both productions still in the back. No, that’s not quite true. The picture frames from “Red Wine and Canvas” we decided to break up and bin, rather than store. We needed to have a good think about this, as we hope to bring the full-length version of the show to Canada next year (out of Fringe time), if our sponsorship goes ahead. So, we’ll need to make up some new frames now. But it was still considered better than trying to store them.

As for the rest of the Dreamscape ephemera: well, the costumes will travel back with us. We’ll try to keep everything together, so that we can easily resurrect either show if required. But you know how it is…bits of costumes get used for other shows, other pieces were borrowed and have to be returned….and some just end up getting worn in “civvy street”!! Yes, there’ll always be a need to do more costume shopping at the Charity Shops!

The projector will stay here in Canada, to be used for future productions. Now that we have it and know it works, we have the option of adding slide or film projection to future shows. Excellent! And we shall certainly keep our Walmart bed sheet projection screen in storage here!

The Dagger will also stay over here. I’m not entirely sure what (if any) future application it might have, but I’m not going to try to take THAT back on the plane! And that’s it…nothing else to carry back. Well, that’s not quite true: we have our reviews (good and bad), which we will add to the Dreamscape Portfolio, along with posters, programs, ticket stubs and the like. It’s nice to be able to flick back through the history of Dreamscape…and it will be something to show our child…if they’re interested!

So…a little bit of history is going back with us. Another page in the Dreamscape Chronicle, fitting neatly into the space between the Past and the Future. You know, maybe it isn’t really sad. It’s just another wonderful step of the Great Adventure!

A few of my favorite things…

Greetings, Fringers past, present and future!
I don’t know about you, but I’ve really had the most wonderful time here at the Edmonton Fringe. It’s not just about audience numbers, or reviews, or hold-over’s….it’s about atmosphere. So many people having a great time. Of course there is the rough as well as the smooth. The reviews which don’t like us, the empty seats in the theatre, the stress of trying to get the projector up and running…but hey! The positive outweighs the negative a million times over!

GEEKWARE at the Fringe, recycling obsolete electronics into fun geek gifts

GEEKWARE – www.GEEKWARE.ca

I have one cloud looming on my horizon. Paperwork and Tax. As usual, I shall do everything I can to keep everything above board and official (both here and in England), but my past experiences with the Winnipeg office leaves me with that worrying thought that no matter how properly we (and the Edmonton tax office) do things, there’ll always be someone willing to say we got it wrong. I shall take advice from an Accountant. It shouldn’t have to be this complicated…but better safe than sorry!

But enough of the cloud: let’s concentrate on the silver linings! And there are MANY! I am full of praise for the Edmonton Fringe, and here are a few of my highlights:

The Fringe Organization. Thomas Scott and the rest of the team have done a marvelous job in keeping the Fringe friendly and accessible. In particular, it is NOT about big budgets or having powerful friends. This has allowed small overseas companies such as Dreamscape to come in and take part on an equal footing. My word of caution, though: if it is allowed to go too much over to BYOV’s, then it could end up descending into an “Edinburgh” scenario, with venues charging huge premiums, and vetting the productions. This would be a disaster…believe me: I’ve seen the results! However, a huge THANK YOU to all the Fringe Organizers. I can not even comprehend the huge amount of organization and paperwork involved.

The Volunteers. Can’t praise these people enough. So very Canadian. So wonderful! These people give up so much of their time and effort to support the Fringe, and without fail every volunteer we were dealing with were lovely: always friendly and smiling. THANK YOU to all volunteers!

Block 1912. Yes, I know it came in for a bit of criticism in one of my earlier columns, but it still was (and will be) our place of choice to rest and recuperate. Indeed, they excelled themselves yesterday, when a group of us went in there for food and hot chocolate. One of our group had a Thai Tea from one of the on-site vendors. We thought she wouldn’t be allowed in with it, but they quietly offered to pour it into one of their own cups, so that no-one would notice! THANK YOU Block 1912!

Our Front of House staff. Yes, I know they sort of come under the heading of “Volunteers”, but they have been wonderful, and I’ve really enjoyed our little chats before and after the shows. THANK YOU Walterdale FOH!

The Audience. What can I say? You made the effort to come to the Fringe. To come to our show. You spent your money, your time, and you supported the Arts. And many of you made the effort to chat to us to give us feedback, or to recommend the shows to your friends. Some of you remember Dreamscape from past productions SIX YEARS ago! Canadian audiences are amazing. THANK YOU Fringers!

Fellow Artists. I just LOVE the support one gets from other theatre teams in the Fringe. We’ve re-established old friendships, and made new ones. THANK YOU fellow Artists!

And my top thank you….my thank you for really making this Fringe something special: This accolade goes to our two Technicians at the Walterdale: Nico and D’Arcy (or is it simply Darcy? Whatever!). These guys are not only damned good at their job, but made us so welcome from the moment we arrived at the theatre. They put in extra hours to sort out our technical problems with the projector, they made us bacon sandwiches, and kept us to schedule, they ran the theatre like a tight (but very friendly) ship, and at all times remained cheerful. These guys really are the spirit of the Fringe…and of Professional Theatre! THANKS GUYS!

There are more, so many more to thank. Of course. Family, friends, even reviewers. But my final thanks goes to Patti and Paul for giving me the chance to write this Blog….and to all of you for taking the trouble to read it! I’ve had a great time. I hope you have too! THANK YOU!

A la prochaine! FERNANDO

Have a good and healthy season. 

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