So, it's late(ish) Sunday night and the first weekend of the festival is over and done. I saw seven shows over the first three days, so I will once again be bringing you a listical of festival related thoughts, because I am too very, very sleepy to write a proper posting. Actual write ups of shows will follow in subsequent posts.
1. As much as anything, FringeNYC is about variety. Seeing one show you don't like is statistically negligible. If you care about things such as theater and have the time, cash or access: see lots. It does interesting things to your head. I was less than ecstatic about one or two of the first shows I watched. Than saw one I adored. I want to take this show home with me and smooch it (sorry, Trav! This is metaphor smooching.). Then I saw some more. Some were wonderful. Some were less than wonderful. But the resulting commingled effect of watching all these various productions was in making me want to write. I want to say it's inspiring, and I guess that's what I mean, but the word doesn't feel exactly right. It's a more subtle affect. More like osmosis. Like just being near all this theater causes parthenogenesis to naturally occur. The thing being gestated being a play. Or something.
2. I have run into at least one person I know at every show I have attended so far, which is delightful.
3. The shows, over all, are far too long. An hour is the ideal length for a festival show (in fact, many festivals insist upon it). 90 minutes on the outside. Any longer, you better earn it. Case in point: most people I know will see anything if it is 45 minutes long. Something an hour forty will need some sort of vetting.
4. This is my tribute to [name redacted]: the temperatures inside all the theaters I have thus far attended have been perfectly comfortable (though maybe The New School was on the cold side. But I'm always freezing so I'm not to be trusted and won't hold it against either them or FringeNYC).
5. Running into the wondrous and magical Martin Denton at your very first show of the festival means you will have a lucky and enjoyable theater year. Look! I just invented a new superstition!
6. I prefer watching messy and over-reaching to safe and well made.
7. All undergraduate theater programs are not created equal.
8. I'm not sorry I saw any of the seven shows I saw.
9. Puppets and fairy tales and murder will always make me really happy. Likewise anthropomorphized animals. I am seven.
10. I've been swimming in these downtown theatrical waters for a very long time now, and have been involved in some way or another with this particular festival for 13 years. The New York International Fringe Festival is a behemoth. It is of massive scope. It is not a boutique industry. That's kind of its reason for being. There are a number of small, more narrowly focused festivals presented by other entities throughout the year. And don't get me wrong, many (actually, most) of them are absolutely wonderful. But FringeNYC is a monster with all the attendant pluses and minuses that go along with being monstrous. Really, if one finds oneself in the Kraken's wake, there's little one can do but go along and enjoy being entangled in its tentacles.
(Picture credits: I lifted the thoroughly delightful illustrations that bedeck this post from the informative and beautifully designed website of the smoochable show, The Battle of Spanktown (running through August 27 at Dixon Place). Metaphor smooches! Illustrations by Jason Stefanik)