From Saskatoon To Edmonton: A Tale Of Two Fringes

Posted on August 11, 2009

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Edmonton. Day Three.

The five hour drive passed easily. It has been a long time since I have gone a long distance in one go; so it was easy to savour the poetry of the wondering skyline. We had a wide blue sky and long long rail-straight lengths of highway. It was the kind of journey in which one’s mind is easily stilled.

I can tell already that the inevitable meta-narrative of our tour will be a “Tale of Two Fringes.” Admittedly, this could be a self-fulfilling prophecy, but the differences between Edmonton and Saskatoon are palatable.

Primarily, Edmonton and the Edmonton Fringe feel big and busy, especially after the small-town sensibilities of Saskatoon.

More importantly, the Fringe seems to matter here.

The main Fringe area is still being built and it already feels like people know and care about the festival. There is an army of volunteers and free public transport for performers. There is a sense of anticipation and the program costs six dollars. Excitement is building.

We had our tech yesterday and it went very well. We are very pleased with our venue. It is the perfect size for our show and our two technicians — yes, two technicians — are friendly and skilled. In this venue, we are very confident we will be putting on a good show.

We are also going to hustle hard to ensure very-full to sold-out audiences is the norm. Even so, because we did so well in Saskatoon, it’s only gravy from here on. Whatever happens, we win.

As it turns out, we are sharing our venue with some of our favorite shows from the Saskatoon Fringe. We’ve got the Squid Kids, Team Edmund, The Lavender Ladies, and Magic Bange. These are all solid to great shows and they will help to put our venue on the map.

With any luck, we will connect with the other folks in our venue soon enough. There is no Off Broadway green room, but there are a few regular hang-outs and people still want to meet each other. Old friends are re-connecting and beer hall introductions are setting the groundwork for new friendships.

In Saskatoon, I think it is fair to say that there were only two or three overlapping and intersecting narratives. In Edmonton, there will be many many stories and many may never properly overlap. It will be a different kind of fun, but it will be fun nevertheless.

It will the best of times and the best of times — only differently.

The festival officially kicks off on Thursday for us. There will be six shows and then a long ride home. But that is later and this is now. Let the fun (and the hustle) begin.

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