page fourteen | September 13 2011 | vol. 4 issue 01
The Runner | www.runnerrag.ca
Fringe Fest adds twists At 27-years-old, the Fringe Festival is still moving – literally – and shaking.
CHRIS YEE SENIOR CULTURE WRITER
might be surprising to some, but the Vancouver Fringe Festival is only the second one of its kind not only in Canada, but in all of North America – indeed, neither it nor fringe theatre in North America are 30 yet. The Vancouver Fringe Festival was inaugurated in 1984, inspired by the Edmonton Fringe Festival, the first of its kind in North America. Started in 1982, the Edmonton Fringe was itself inspired by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which began in 1947, once the misfit twin to the somewhat more orthodox Edinburgh International Festival. The Edinburgh Fringe is now the world’s largest performing arts festival. Like all Fringe Festivals, everything the Vancouver Fringe Festival features has been chosen by a lottery selection process –
no juries. “Everyone has a chance [at putting on a show],” says David Jordan, executive director of the Vancouver Fringe Festival – something that was not lost on its founders, Joanna Maratta and the First Vancouver Theatrespace Society in creating the space that became the Fringe Festival in 1984. On top of this, the Fringe Festival also has a Bring Your Own Venue program, which lets theatre and other performing arts groups organize their own shows affiliated with the Festival, on a first-come-first-serve basis. Speaking of venues, the Fringe Festival has moved a lot in its 27-year history: from its original home in and around the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood in Vancouver, it moved to Commercial Drive in 1995, then to its current main location on Granville Island – but at 11 years and counting, the Festival might as well be settled
there now. New additions this year include Fringe Onsite, a series of site-specific theatre on the Festival’s Granville Island site . “We want to make theatre spring out of every nook and cranny [of Granville Island],” Jordan says of Onsite), and Sounds from the Fringe, featuring a variety of comedians, DJs and musicians, and a series of installations around Granville Island by the Art Is Land Network. This year’s instalment of the Vancouver Fringe Festival runs from Sept. 8 to Sept. 18, with the most popular shows encore Pick of the Fringe from Sep. 22-25. For more information on the Fringe Festival, including ticket prices and current shows, see vancouverfringe.com.
Top 4 fringe-worthy features
The Blind Date - Gallery of BC Ceramics, 1359 Cartwright Street (Granville Island) Debuting at this year’s Fringe Festival, this Bring Your Own Venue performance by Invisible City Theatre puts a “20-something-year-old” couple on a blind first date through “a series of date scenarios” ranging from the “good” to the “bad” to the “embarrassing” and “flammable” (whether that was meant literally, we don’t know). Probably good for couples, don’t you think?
ShLong Form Improv - Firehall Arts Centre, 280 East Cordova Street Come help these Seoul-based ex-pat comedians play matchmaker to two short-form improv sets and create two “separate and innovative” long-form improv sets at this Bring Your Own Venue improv show. No, we will not make any dick jokes regarding this event, that would be lazy and juvenile. Sorry.
3 Fruitcake: Ten Commandments from the Psych Ward - Waterfront Theatre, 1412 Cartwright Street (Granville Island). Spoken word performance by “reformed psychiatric nurse” Rob Gee, full of yuks, guffaws and poignant moments for the psych nurses in your life - or anyone, really.
Stay Away From My Boat @$$hole - Alder Bay Bridge (Granville Island) Taking place in the waters underneath the Alder Bay Bridge, this Bring Your Own Venue site-specific performance by ITZAZOO Productions is self-explanatory. There’s a man, a boat, and some asshole who may or may not want on the boat and the man off it. That being said, Stay Away From My Boat @$$hole is probably funnier and more thought-provoking than what the previous description might suggest - at least, we think it is.
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