Back in Ottawa for about a week now…still missing the mountains, wicked sushi and cheaper, more efficient mass transit big time. And definitely missing Fringe, tho the worst of my post-fest ennui has evaporated by now. But this was a particularly special Fringe for me, not only my first visit to Vancouver Fringe, but first time performing in another Fringe Festival to boot. And how did that go down?
FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF DATING. We (meaning myself, Madeleine Hall and Jodi Morden) opened this weird little silent physical comedy to an unexpected crowd of 60 people on Friday September 9th and then never looked back. And while we never did crack that 60 opening, our houses were always good and I feel safe in saying our trip to Vancouver Fringe was a resounding success. Much lovely feedback abounded, including some from some familiar and friendly faces (thanks again for the surprise visit, Sarah Finn!) With the assistance of our terrific venue tech Phil, the show went off without a hitch 6 for 6, we had a blast every time, and quite frankly are already itching to come back.
As for the future of Speed of Dating, well, we’re definitely hoping to do an Ottawa remount in the months to come, and we’ll keep you posted on that front. The new bits in the show went over great and we can’t wait to show the hometown what we got! Special thanks to the Fresh Meat festival for helping us premiere this one 2 years back, and good luck on the upcoming 5th anniversary edition…and more on THAT in my next post, coming soon.
VANCOUVER FRINGE. Can I just say I love this festival? Granville Island is maybe the perfectest setting for a Fringe that exists on planet Earth (although I did make it out to some of the off-Island venues to, like the historic Cultch and Rio), and we lucked out with damn near perfect weather for the entire time. I managed to catch almost 30 shows while I was there, and for the record that includes:
I Forgot to Fly Today
the Ballad of Frank Allen
the Girl who was Raised by Wolverine
Does Not Play Well with Others
the Jupiter Rebellion
In the Trenches
Great Day for Up
Love is a Battlefield
the Lion the Bitch and the Wardrobe
Frank: to be Frank
Love, Lust and Lace
Til Death: the Six Wives of Henry VIII
Get Lost Jem Rolls
Cabaret of Bullshit
In the Blue of Evening
Ze: Queer as Fuck
Some AMAZING stuff in there…Vancouver had a seriously stacked deck of talent this Fringe. I count myself lucky anybody found the time to squeeze our little show into their schedule! FALLING AWAKE and BELLA CULPA, a pair of 2-hander physical comedies, were definite highlights and inspirations for me, not to mention the hilarious BALLAD OF FRANK ALLEN that I caught twice. But things were great across the board, even the very setup of the Fringe, setting out from sandwich board village every day to see shows, and meeting back at the open air Fringe bar in the evening (I didn’t realize how MUCH I’d missed an open air Fringe bar, you guys!). Props also to the simple and brilliant Artist Rush Pass system, replacing the occasionally cumbersome password system for this Fringe. And of course, huge thank you to my amazing billet Naomi, who not only kept a roof over my head for the duration, but provided our show with the chairs we needed to go on! You’re the best!
FAV’RIT MOMENTS. Skytrains. Aquabus. Sandwich board village. Lizard-Maaaan. Seagull ate my pizza. If it seems too hard…stop trying. You can’t predict the Heather. Epic dance party. 100 dollar lunch at Queen Elizabeth Park. Tacos at Cats. Sushi Aria. Reunion with Cliff. STU! Crowdsurfing cardtrick. Moths. Dancing with Frank. Popcorn and beer at the Rio. The Berlin Wall comes alive. Closing Night Selfie with Jayson McDonald.
And maybe my last, fav’rit moment at Vancouver Fringe came on the final night. Sandwich board village had been torn down, last shows were on, we’d closed the day before. A gentle rain was falling across Granville Island, and this dream of a trip was almost done. I took a long, lonely final wander around the place to say goodbye, getting a bit misty-eyed in the misty evening, fully feeling an early post-Fringe depression. Then, as I was passing a small restaurant, a happy couple spilled out not too far from me. They saw me, and one of them immediately shouted “Hey, it’s the Speed Dating guy!” We walked together for a minute, and they told me how much they’d loved the show, and the Fringe, and my frown turned upside down in a flash. To quote one of my fav’rit philosophers in what feels like appropriate timing…the Human Race. Don’t you just love it? Yes I do. It is the only Possible way to cope with it.
Bless ya Vancouver Fringe. I’ll be back. Peace, love and soul,