FRINGECOMA ’10 – Days TEN and ELEVEN

Yeah, okay, I skipped a night.  I was tired again, and I’m weak, and you can’t hate me more than I hate myself, so let’s just get on with it, okay? Shit, I just hope I even remember yesterday!

Started off early, as I managed to unshackle myself from the oars at work for a day.  Hit the 12:30 of ‘DENTITY CRISIS by Erudite Theatre, and was suitably impressed.    By Chris Durang, telling a wonderfully weird story about a disturbed, suicidal young woman and her Mother, who may or may not have invented cheese.  Also the Mother’s son/husband/father/lover, all of who may or may not be the same person.  Not even mentioning the gender-switching psychologist.  She’s a keeper, this one, and happily stars Mike Showler, of my ’08 Fringe fave TRASHCAN DUET, so that made me smile.  Good start to the day!

This was awesome, end of story. Fuck you, critics!

Met up with my Jammy and the Crystalline Entity then, had a coffee and treated myself to a second viewing of 7(x1)SAMURAI, David Gaines’ tour de force of mime.  It was even more amazing the second time, losing no impact with time.  You start to feel a sort of ecstatic rapture near the end, as the sun begins to go down in the east, or at least I did.  He even managed to play with the ringing cellphone that interrupted his show, and work with it.  A fucking gentleman, that’s what this man is.  And one of the most talented people I’ve ever come across.  Hope I come across him again.

Jammy and I broke for lunch, had some pork schnitzel in the Market Square (dee-licious!), before I sent her off by herself to see the unmissable DUCK WIFE (I bought a cd!), as I trekked away to catch SEEKING…, a delightful 3-manner from Heat andHot Water Prod.. With a few intertwining stories of love looked for (among other things), a very smart cast slips between characters with ease, and manages to endear us to all of them.  It’s a sort-of happy ending that leaves you almost-satisfied.  But it always feels real.

Still on my own, I battled down to the Oak to try again for a show I’d been denied earlier…Bremner Duthie’s THE PIG OF HAPPINESS.  It happened this time, and despite the crumby, oppressive venue (and seriously, let’s cut this ‘basement of the Oak’ shit out until they get some A/C down there) it was a grand time.  Bremner is fucking born for the stage, in both mannerism (as he says, an actor needs to love himself) and voice.  Which in his case is golden.  he skips from song to song, in between narrative about the elusive search for happiness, with perfect ease, going so far as to concoct a transmogrification of Como, Cobain and Concertina that was easily the hit of the night.  He’s an awesome entertainer, and I just wish I could have seen him and Lindsay Boal doing a duet.  Or at least him in a better venue.

Finally met back up with the Jammy for Jeff Cottrill‘s GROUCH ON A COUCH, one I’d been curious about.  It was just what the posters made it seem…a grouch, suspiciously close to ‘Oscar’ of sesame street, getting counselling after a violent outburst.  It sounds like live-action Sesame Street fanfiction…and, okay, that’s exactly what it is.  But there’s some interesting ideas thrown in there, too…The dumbing down of children’s televison, the desperation of bullied children, the nightmare of just being god-damned miserable all the time.   It’s ripe fodder, Jeff has a grand time with it on the stage. and it’s worth a look.

The Jammy headed for home, and boy, I should have too.  I was sleepy.  But after some time at the tent…including the surreal moment when I saw Miss Hiccup, in full regalia, sitting on a curb waiting for the bus), I figgered what the Hell?  One more won’t kill me!  And I saw the 11 pm show of Salamander Shakespeare’s THE DEATH OF TYBALT.  It was a dandy…they had a nice take on the story, at least for the first part.  Most of the players wee doing straight Bill S., except for Romeo, who was left in street clothes and bounded about like a dandy, or crawling on no fours like a snake. The play took a predictable turn for the grim (it IS Shakespeare) in the 2nd half, calling for a little swordplay.  And some death…and it gets all serious, and I for one started to miss whimsical Romeo.  Not that it was bad, just that it got traditional.  And Garret Quirk and Danielle Savoie as Tybalt and Rosaline were wonderful, and we should all be looking out for them in the near future.  Guaranteed they’ll be doing good things.

Then it was off for home, and bed.  And yes, I was supposed to update, but I did NOT.  I was tired,and I looked at my stats and saw that basically no-one had visited my crappy page in 24 hours, so I figured it was okay.  I feel sorry for myself a lot.  You should learn that soon, if you’re one of the imaginary people reading this.

After a moderately rotten brunch shift I returned, for the final time this year, to the Fringe.  I was too late for a repeat show of MISS HICCUP, so I opted instead to do a repeat of Lindsay Boal’s PURELY CABARET.  I shifted myself into one of the higher seats, melted down under the welcome blow of an air conditioner, and let the wondrous tunes waft over me.  At least, that was the plan.

It was an AWESOME plan, and worked very well.   I adore how much Lindsay seems to thrill at every single song, no matter the subject or tone.  She quit a much more lucrative opera career to tour the fringe cabaret-stylee, and her passion is so evident you practically have to wash it off of yourself when you leave the theatre.  Wotta performer.

Next up was a long-awaited treat….my repeat performance of E.Zasko’s THE SPUTNIKS, my fav’rit emotional gut-punch of the festival.  I love this show like comic books, and it hits me like a cement mixer to the frontal cortex.  It’s everything I adore about the stage.  Afterwards, I kept seeing Elison Zasko about the fringe, wearing her li’l green cap, and I was too intimidated to talk to her.  The show just hit me too hard.  If I HAD talked to her again, I probably just would have thanked her.  I’ll do that next time.

I had my chance, actually, next show (my last show of Fringe 2010) when she was in the audience at Daniel Nimmo’s AOMEGA, one I’d been looking forward to.  A surprisingly small crowd (I’d figured his Australian cachet alone would net him bigger groups), but Nimmo worked it with a  hilarious combination of desperation and showboating.  The story is a little hard to follow…something about alien infestation of consciousness and a need to evolve, all revolving around a tiny teddy bear, but it matters not.  Nimmo reminded me  of a young Rik Mayall up there, and maybe the show is still young, or he’s just ahead of his time, but I still felt really excited to be there, in that studio, watching him weave his high-energy madness over us.  What better way to end the Fringe?

I sat there alone for a spell, writing a few thoughts, with the odd interruption.  Met Bridget and Charlie, fellow fans, these ones from Australia, and we agreed that Patrick Langston was indeed a cunt (basically).  Later, Barry Smith himself walked up to me and said that he enjoyed my writings.  That was AWESOME.

A few random chats later, as the awards were handed out and the lights dimmed..Jeff, Barry, Kurt, Nancy (she said something very nice to me, which I shall not repeat here , only to say it was very nice and it made me feel pretty swell).  It was a fine night.  It was a fine Fringe.  It was a magnificent Fringe.  And I’m not done yet.

I’ll have hopefully two more posts coming as follow ups to this lovely eleven days….my LIST OF LISTS, and, if I can suss it out, the first annual OTTAWA FRINGE-FEST FANFICTION ROUNDUP.  And if you’re reading this, drop a line and let me know.  There ain’t a beer tent for me to accidentally find out for another eleven months or so!

Your pal, as always,

The Visitor

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