Friday, August 3, 2012

My Yearly Fringe Post

Blog, here are some thoughts I have on the Minnesota Fringe Festival.

1. The Fringe Festival takes over my Facebook newsfeed something fierce every August. It is easy to see the emergence of  the successes and pitfalls that come with everyone's shows. The pitfalls are less noticeable because people tend to not post about bad reviews and sucky shows on Facebook. This allows for the highlighted and confident shows to easily shine to the masses (me). Soon, these successful shows become the Fringe's mainstream and comfort. I don't know what to choose! I shall therefore go to a show I've heard a lot about so I feel safe, even though I know there is a chance that it may not live up to its hype.

2. The Fringe Festival serves as an arena where every theater person in Minneapolis (and beyond) can feel in control of their artistic destiny. Anyone and everyone has the opportunity to act on that brilliant idea that has been cooking in the back of their minds since that breakup/lay-off/mid-life crisis/end of college. The masses must know the brilliance that lies within your civilians, Minneapolis! The masses must keep incredibly tight schedules to experience it! The masses must be subject to the potential confusion that abounds with copious amounts of inside theater jokes brought to the stage in an attempt to entertain said masses!

3. The Fringe Festival is a popularity contest where the winners are determined by Matthew Everett, the Fringe blogger I never really hear about during the other 55 weeks of the year. Who are you Matthew? I should know as I was on your public access TV show once, and yet I don't. You emerge with your critical eye every August and sink back into the arts oblivion just as the Perseids reach their peak. A mystery you are to me, Mr. Everett. I fear I may never solve you... or your mother.

4. The Fringe Festival reminds me of how wonderful and awful theater can be. It's like a drug and I am its addict. You can ride the emotional high from a performance well done for only so long until your conscious sinks back into a rut of self scrutiny. Even the most confident performers have second thoughts about how great their shows are. Maybe I'm making that up... no I'm not. I don't care if your last name starts with "Scrim" and ends with "shaw". There's no way in hell you can feel 100% awesome about your show at all times. Not when there are critics running rampant with a rating system and review venue at their fingertips. Not when they know they have the power to dash dreams if dreams deserved to be dashed.

5. The Fringe Festival is the one time a year when the theater community comes together in a way where everyone is special. Everyone gets to put on a play. Everyone gets to be a critic. Everyone can see a show, and everyone can get drunk and bitch about it afterwards. Everyone gets caught up in the hype. Everyone wants to impress and be impressed. Everyone wants to limit the amount they allow themselves to be impressed because everyone has been given the opportunity to show off their superior theater chops, whether it be on stage or in the audience. And everyone who is anyone knows that superior theater chops are reflected by being difficult to impress.

I love/hate the Minnesota Fringe Festival. It stirs emotions within my soul and as we have covered before, Blog, I know not how to deal with feelings. They make me uncomfortable and confused. Tragically, they also make me feel alive, and this is why I'm drawn to the ridiculousness year after year.

With that, my entry pertaining to the Fringe Festival is complete for 2012. Previous entries; good, bad, and ugly can be found here, here, and here. My first taste of it can be found here. Don't judge, Blog. I didn't know what I was talking about.

Time to go hate myself for loving this so much.

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