Our houses (or attendance) have been great for No Exit Upstage. According to the Ottawa Fringe Festival, we're well above average almost every night. As a local and somewhat well-connected performer, I've been blessed with a leg up on all the touring companies because I have the "friends and family" factor in my favour. That said, we have two shows to go and I really want to pack the place. This is where "The Pitch" comes in. Touring companies are experts in pitch. They have to be. Oftentimes they may be complete unknowns arriving in a city for the very first time. Since media coverage is somewhat lax here in Ottawa (and thanks to Jon P for making a little plea about this after his amazing performance of House last night), they almost solely rely on word of mouth. But how do you get word of mouth if no one is attending your show? Well, you bring a big stack of flyers and you find people at the beer tent, waiting in line to see a show, or coming out of one. And then you pitch. This will be an incredibly important activity once I hit the Winnipeg Fringe Festival in July.
I do consider myself and Arts Marketing person, so this should be a breeze, right? Unfortunately, I actually get a bit tongue-tied. It's much easier to promote someone else's show than my own. I've seen some awesome veteran fringers like Jem Rolls and Gemma Wilcox who have their pitches down to a science. I think Jem's is now down to something like "I'm British and say funny things that make you laugh." Brilliant. Short. Sweet. To the point.
What can I say?
"It's an absurd, existential and somewhat masturbatory comedy about two cohabitating Thespians trapped in their own private version of Sartrian Hell."
"Did you just say your show has masturbating lesbians?"
Seriously though, I'm grateful for the feedback I've been getting from audience members about the show because it's given me the chance to see how others would view the piece. Lots of cool and catchy key words have come out of those discussions. My favorite so far has been "it's kinda like their in the Twilight zone."
If you see me around the Fringe today (and you will), stop and chat for a second. I'd love to test out my pitch on you.
****************************** No Exit Upstage - ONLY TWO PERFORMANCES LEFT! Directed by Ken Godmere Featuring Nancy Kenny & Natasha Jetté
The Ottawa Fringe Festival runs from June 18 to 28, 2009.
All No Exit Upstage performances take place in Venue #3 – Studio Leonard Beaulne
Thursday June 18 – 9:30 PM (2 for 1 performance)
Saturday June 20 – 11:00 PM
Sunday June 21 – 2:00 PM
Wednesday June 24 – 6:30 PM
Saturday June 27 – 8:00 PM
Sunday June 28 – 3:30 PM
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door. You also need the $2 Fringe Pin to get in to all performances. Advanced tickets and discounted multi-show Fringe passes are also available.