We are now deep into the first weekend of this juggernaut of a festival and (I think) every group has had at least one performance. The Free Press, the CBC, and the rest of the critics (who are hopefully generous) are posting the last of their reviews this weekend. So there will be a bunch of high fives, some “meh”, and a few tears. With that, the nervous energy that accompanies the start of the Fringe will decrease somewhat today and tomorrow.
This means that participants will shift their focus slightly from their own inner struggles of thespian angst, technician bitterness, and staff stress, onto other participants bitter angst stress.
Today they will be seen mingling more and seeing more shows, supporting the other artists and talking to patrons, volunteers, and staff. If the weather is good, it will all culminate into that giant mosh pit of the exchange district with music, dancing, and a taxicab at 3:30am. Everybody play nice, don’t spook the Beer Tent Vampires.
But we have a looooooooong way to go yet in this festival, and it’s really easy to burn out. You need to pace yourself, and remember that the human body wasn’t designed to take a noon performance, followed by ingesting two dozen mini-doughnuts with hollandaise and deep fried pickles, while waiting in line to see a show, while booking tickets on your phone for a show for tomorrow, texting your one friend who got 5 stars from the CBC (Yay! Billy the Critic really knows his stuff!), and texting you’re other friend who got 1 star from the CBC (Boo! That Billy the Critic doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about, I thought your Rambo was awesome), while visiting the beverage pavilion and sampling the new beer tent offerings…. several times, and then joining a group that’s headed to support Rambo Kicks The Crap Out Of Some Terrorist Dudes – The Musical and grabbing a plate of extra spicy chicken wings and a rack of ribs on the way, sitting through the show, returning to the beverage pavilion and adding your review to the CBC, the Jenny, and the Free Press websites, while using those 3 beer tickets you have left, then dancing in front of the Cube to the Screaming Mimes and their Dark Side of the Moon cover extravaganza, followed by the late night patio at the King’s Head and a plate of the llama vindaloo and a few Jäger-bombs before pouring yourself into a cab that you ask to stop at the 7-11 to stock up on Red Bull because you have an 11am Kid’s Fringe show in a few hours, and you should probably do some laundry because you’ve been wearing the same clothes since Tuesday and you’re starting to smell like a Venue Technician…
Don’t get me wrong, enjoy yourself and have a fun filled festival, just be smart about it.
The rest of the world keeps on turning while the Fringe is on, and it’s sometimes hard to remember that. Yesterday was my 5 shows (all in a row) day, and I was looking forward to a nice sleep in this morning to rest my weary old bones, but the construction workers with the jackhammer and chainsaws behind my place at 8am had other ideas.
I actually opened my window and yelled “Don’t you know there is a Fringe on right now?”, to which they replied “Ya… we’re headed down there after our shift. Can you recommend anything?”
Well, at least word of mouth can still be a thing, and those guys looked like the might enjoy Rambo Kicks The Crap Out Of Some Terrorist Dudes, although I’m not sure if they’re into musicals.
So get out there and see some shows, and grab some deep fried tidbits on the way, but do it all in moderation. Don’t try to do everything because it’s impossible. Maybe take a nap every once and a while, and stop to smell the doughnuts.
And whatever you do, don’t start a blog about the Fringe, because you may never sleep again…