We’re now into the second day of technical rehearsals, and we’re mostly looking at local groups, but some out of towners are starting to filter into the city. The Soca-Caribbean festival is pumping out Bob Marley covers at the outdoor site in the exchange district, which closes tonight. Tomorrow, the Fringe staff will descend on that site and start setting up all of the things.
This is also the time when the sides of the RMTC buildings get plastered with posters advertising all of the Fringe shows.
As I look at a lot of the advertisements, I giggle at some of the taglines:
“The loudest Screaming Mime to ever get trapped in a glass box – ★★★★1/2 – Mime Aficionado Bi-Monthly”
“This guy does the thing that he does better than anybody else who does this thing he does – ★★★★★★★★ – That Thing That Guy Does Podcast”
“Rambo is heel spannend, toen hij doodt de terroristische kerel, lama – BNR Nieuwsradio”.
All of this advertising on posters is necessary to get people’s attention and get them in the door because there is a LOT of competition. Sometimes companies resort to gimmicks to get audiences by doing something weird or different or something no one has ever done before with condiments. This is fine, as long as there is substance to the actual performance and not just a gimmick.
These gimmicks can really work to get that first audience in the door, but they can only take you so far, and then you’ll have to start performing if you want word of mouth or reviews to propel you to sold out houses.
After many Fringes, I’ve had some great ideas for a Fringe show that would be guaranteed to sell gang busters and make me rich and famous. But since this is my last Fringe, I thought I’d pass on these ideas to my two readers so they might cash in:
So here are my Top 10 ideas for your next Fringe show:
#10- Theatre of the Feline. Sprinkle a venue with catnip and let sixty cats of various ages and sizes run loose. Then, fire off some confetti cannons that are filled with yarn, while you spin fourteen ceiling fans at various speeds with laser pointers attached to them. (Note, this idea could also work with dogs, but replace the balls of yarn with tennis balls, and the laser pointers with sticks tied to the blades of the ceiling fans).
#9 – No Sense Theatre. Fill a venue half way with very warm salt water and handout blindfolds and earplugs to the audience and let them float around in pitch black for an hour.
#8 – The Ultimate In Audience Participation. Hand out copies of a script to the audience, and make THEM act it. Some script suggestions would be Oh! Calcutta!, The Full Monty, and Rambo Rescues Some Prisoners of War and Beats the Hell Out of More Terrorist Dudes – In Dutch.
#7 – Smell-o-theatre. In total blackness, tell a story using smells. Start at the ocean and wave around a 40 pound salmon, from one of last year’s shows, in the venue for the ambient aroma of an ocean side beach. Then move on to downtown of a big city at night by splashing diesel fuel and day old hot dogs over the stage, capturing that perfect city nasal recognition. Finally end in a Hipster coffee shop and spray everyone in the audience with Nescafé and patchouli.
#6 – Extreme Choose your own adventure. Start the story and then give the audience the choice of where the story goes next. This has been done before. But only with 2 separate choices that dictate where the scene goes next. But in your extreme version, give the audience 19 separate choices each with it’s own lighting cue and sound cue. Your technician will love you. Also you may need to wait a few years to enter into Fringe because the script ends up being over 2500 pages long.
#5 – Large Venue Finger Puppet Theatre. Place a chair as far upstage as possible at the Warehouse, MTC Mainstage, or better yet on the cube. Sit on the chair and put a shoe box on your lap and act out Game of Thrones episodes with your Finger puppets. Add a bucket of ketchup if you’re doing the Red Wedding episode.
#4 – Naptime productions. Fill the space with mattresses and cots and invite the audience to nap for an hour…. No, wait… 90 minutes.
#3 – Hippy Trippy Throwback theatre. Fill the venue with as many disco lights that you can find, and then pass out special brownies and bags of Doritos to the audience in the line up before they get in. At the start of the show, play Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon at full volume.
#2 – Scripted Improv. Advertise your show as Improv and plant people in your audience who will shout out preselected scenarios when asked. Then present an amazingly funny and poignant script that your company has memorised. The audience will be amazed about “how talented these Improv artists are”.
#1 – Critic Theatre. Invite a different theatre critic each show to read their 1 and 2 star reviews aloud on stage. Advertise to the fringe artists and sell water balloons in the lineup for $50 a pop.
These ideas are golden, and will make anybody rich and famous beyond their wildest dreams.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go hide for a while, because I think I hear a mob of Venue technicians and Fringe staff with pitchforks and baseball bats, that would like to talk to me about my suggestions…