In Venue 2, the Monday following the last day is filled with a mixed sense of determination and exhaustion. There is a lot to do in the Venue to return it to a bare room that becomes the rehearsal hall for the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. Everything must go. Chairs, risers, lights, speakers, drapes, stage floor, masking flats, consoles, skylight blackout plugs, ticket taker tent, draperies, and all the My Little Pony brand theatrical gear must be removed and placed in storage or returned to rental stables, as the case may be.
The exhaustion stems from so much activity in 17 days (for some in the festival more than 17) without a day off, and not just working the festival, but participating in it’s offerings as much as possible every day. It takes it out of you… and at my age it takes it out with a 30 day payback plan.
The determination comes from the fact that vacation starts at the end of the day, and the prospect of a theatre detox looms, with a restful August before diving back into the abyss of regional theatre in September.
During the tear down, I always come across small bits from the shows. The remnants of a popped balloon, scuff marks from tap shoes, a package of Double-Bubble chewing gum, a flower petal, a can of corn, or a thirty pound salmon. They are found on the stage floor, under risers, or in the dressing room, and they make me pause and remember my groups with fondness and I smile… well, not so much the salmon. GOD I hope that Rambo group doesn’t write a sequel…
As all of the bits of wood, metal, and luminary gear is loaded out of Venue 2, and my smart phone informs me of farewell tweets and emails along with record breaking attendance statistics on fringe facebook pages, I ponder about the Exhibitionist 2014 edition of the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival and how it ranks in comparison to Fringes long gone by.
I’ve said before that the Fringe is a recharge of my creative batteries, that Fringe reminds me why I got into this business in the first place, and that there will be a future for theatre and performing arts from the young performers coming up.
It always gives me hope, and teaches me some lessons at the same time.
I also learned that everyone deserves a chance to tell their story in a loving community, free from hate and intimidation. A common theme from all of my groups and many in the festival.
Now I will put this “little blog of little importance”* to bed for another year. Thanks to both of you for reading. I’ll be by soon for a visit Auntie Hilda with a gift of salmon for your freezer, and I’m still waiting for delivery YouBuyViagraNow136@BonerNow.com, if that’s your real name.
And I’d like to give a heartfelt thanks to everybody involved with the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival this year, exhibitionists and voyeurs alike. And a special thanks goes to my groups this year for your enthusiasm and dedication to your messages. I’m coming away from Venue 2 with some pretty special memories and a renewed creative energy, and that’s because of the performances I had the pleasure to see everyday.
And I do mean every performance… front to back.
Front to back JuJube…
*overheard in Fringe Central from a man of relativity unimportant voice.