Well, this is officially the first year since this blog first croaked itself to already-weary life way back when that I didn’t do any damn posting about Ottawa Fringe. Okay, sure, the otter had a lovely preview piece she wrote for it, bless her, but I had nary a word to say. Not a preview, review, foofarah or whatever. Where, o where has my Fringe spirit gone??
But I swear, I still got into it and Fringe-coma’d as hard as I could! I still managed a solid 29 shows, beer tented plenty, made new friends and fav’rits, and hey look, I even weaselled my way back onto the stage! Not too shabby, I hope. And now that it’s all over, and I’ve recovered and had my sads (and oh, I had sads at the end of this one, gang), I’m up for a bloggity look back and, in that hopeful Fringe spirit, forward as well.
BACK TO THE ACTING: I was still in my run at the Gladstone Theatre as part of the LYSISTRATA chorus with Theatre Kraken when I got the news that I’d been cast in Fringe. Considering that Lysistrata ran until mid-May, that didn’t leave a helluva lotta time to get our show on its feet, but I guess that’s the way Dave Dawson and Fringe mainstays Black Sheep Theatre roll, and we were off. I got yanked into a dandy six-person cast (including Chris McLeod, Vivan Burns, Mike Kosowan, Jeff Lefebvre and Leah McQuarrie), with the task of putting on Martin Dockery’s mindbending dark farce TIMMY, THE DOG, DISAPPEARS at good old Academic Hall. And yes THAT Martin Dockery, so how could I say no?
Even with the added daunt of having a decidedly un-Fringe set, complete with walls and doors, that we had to assemble and disassemble in 10 minutes flat every day! Happily, set designer Christine knocked that task out of the park, our SM team of Jason and Kristen were damn near perfect, and somehow, we actually pulled it off…as one does at Fringe, naturally. I had a blast, playing my usual multiple characters and getting some lovely scene-stealing opportunities, working with new people and a new company (new to me, that is), playing Academic for the first time…and we sold well enough that it didn’t feel empty, a danger at the mighty Hall. I am still very grateful to Dave for taking a chance on me and tossing me into this oddball mix, it helped make this Fringe a very special one for me.
THE SHOWS, THE SHOWS!!!
So as noted, I caught 29 shows at this year’s Ottawa Fringe which, if you know me, I’m still kicking myself about. You don’t need to tell me how many awesome shows I missed, I know, I know. I could have crammed another 5 or 6 in there easy. Curse my older, easily tired bones! But, for what it’s worth, here’s my list for 2019:
Stick or Wizard?
The Walk in the Snow
God is a Scottish Drag Queen
Beneath the Bikini
Ingenue: Deanna Durbin, Judy Garland and the Golden Age of Hollywood
Beans of Fury
Happy Birthday, Claire!
Get Yourself Home, Skyler James
Skirts in the Forest
ARNOTT: a Masterclass in Good Theatring
a Period Piece
the Shape of a Girl
Becoming Magic Mike: an Action Adventure Comedy
Some dandies indeed in there, and a few that are moving on to other Fringes as we speak (and maybe I’ll have another post in me about THAT before it becomes irrelevant). I can also vouch for a show I caught at Winnipeg Fringe last year, 2 Sherlock Holmes Adventures. Lots of great stuff to see, plus lots of squinky new venues, most of which were in the spotless new OAG/Ottawa U facilities now conveniently attached to Arts Court. The LabO space is a pure delight, and studios 1201 and 2201 are plenty swell as well. I also caught a couple at the new BYOV at Knox Presbyterian (love the groundhog). New/old Courtyard is…fine. A trifle claustrophobic, especially on closing night, but presumably this will change in future years when the SAW Gallery is reopened for use as well. I missed good old Studio Leonard-Beaulne this year, true, but ya gotta applaud Fringe’s move to full accessibility in their venues. Although even Academic Hall, with its staircase elevator gizmo, still doesn’t have an accessible washroom, so there is still work to be done. But a great start, and a great Fringe emerged from it.
COMING SOON: There’s lots to still say about #ottfringe 2019, memories and moments like museum day, the rousing awards ceremony, our own very epic midnight strike down the street to Dave’s house…but who has time to reminisce? From Ottawa Fringe, I’m hitting the ground running towards this July’s Kingston Storefront Fringe, where my very own wunnerful Otter Caitlin will be remounting her Ottawa Fringe 2015 show CRUSHED…and I’m directing? Yep, that’s a thing I do now, and I couldn’t be more excited at this adventure with my love. And did I mention that my new Fringe pal Oli will be there too, with his fantabulous show Stick or Wizard? Because yeah!!! Also a wee show called Elephant Girls from Margo MacDonald, whaaaat?? We’re venue buddies even!!
So hooray for Fringe! Loved all the shows, and the adventures, and the new pals (hiya Polly, Katie, Oli, Carlyn…everyone!), and the memories, and now the anticipation of the next one. And the one after that, and the one after that. Fringe never ends, gang.See you at the beer tent next time! Peace, love and soul,