Oh, Ottawa Fringe Festival, I love you so! It's taken me this long just to recover. The quality and caliber of shows this year was incredibly high, which probably accounts for the multiple sold out houses and record breaking box office numbers. I saw a grand total of 22 shows, which is not too shabby if I do say so myself. They were, in viewing order:
Uncouth I think my boyfriend should have an accent The Nature of Things of Nature Zach Zultana: Space Gigolo Hootenanny Mars Japanese Samurai Don Quixote Challenging Against English Giant Windmills!! Three Men in a Boat The Orchid and the Crow Whose Aemelia The Untitled Sam Mullins Project The Sink Two Girls, One Corpse Supervillains Don't Wear Stilettos Sh!t I'm in Love with you Again Screwtape Die Roten Punkte: Best Band in the World Inescapable Pachiv! Hannah and George Working Title: Undecided Northern Daughter
And this not counting all the ones I had already seen.
While hanging out at the Fringe this year, two questions frequently came up: 1) How does it feel to just be a patron this year? and 2) Will you be doing Roller Derby Saved My Soul again?
Here were my answers:
1) It's surprisingly great. I get to see a bunch of shows, hang out with all my friends, and drink like it's... well like it's Fringe, but I have none of the stress that comes with producing your own show. Though I missed performing, after the incredible amount of pressure I was under last year, this was a breath of much needed fresh air.
2) I had at least a dozen people come up to me and ask about Roller Derby Saved My Soul. My director, Tania Levy, also told me how inspired she was to revisit our collaborative effort after seeing all these new shows. The script has changed a lot over the summer and she has yet to see this new version. I was also inspired by some of the design elements I saw during this festival (track lighting from The Orchid and the Crow anyone?) So the short answer is yes, I will be doing Roller Derby Saved My Soul. The how, when and where of it will take up another blog post all on its own.
A couple shoutouts/cool things from this year's festival:
- Congrats to Pat and the team for getting a couple suitable alternatives to the Beer Tent this year. Both The Albion Room and Club SAW were a lot of fun.
- Awesome to see the ticket price go up to $12 this year making Ottawa a city with one of the highest payouts for Fringe on the circuit. For those of you who don't know, artists only make money through ticket sales so this is a fantastic thing.
- It was down to the wire. I thought for sure my Fringe crush this year would be the perfect bangs and chiseled jaw of the Mars crew. But on the last day of the festival I caught Working Title: Undecided and Tamlynn Bryson caught my heart. A well-deserved emerging artist award is now in her bag!
- It turns out I'm still young enough to stay out until 5 a.m. multiple nights in a row.
- Hanging out with Hiroshi Shimizu and introducing him to various Canadian cuisines.
- Looking forward to the remount of The Elephant Girls in the Arts Court Theatre. Since it sold out its run, this was one of the few shows I really wanted to see but missed.
- 4 out of 5 Best of Fest shows were created by women. 2 out 3 shows that sold out their entire runs were local.
- Wes Babcock is my hero.
- Shoutout to Kevin Reid for creating and producing his very first show. And no matter how much he doth protest, he totally is one of us. One of us. One of us.
Next Stop: Toronto Fringe!