Fringe Journal, Part I

Well, this has been quite the weekend so far. Seven shows in four days. And I managed to catch a few plays as well, so far.

I must say, the first time we went on the Journal stage on Friday evening, I was freaked OUT! I couldn't really explain it then ("It's the (flailing arms) and the (HUGE arms out) and the (sweeping arm).")

What I meant to say was HUGE stage, big amplification, and a large grass field to sit in makes it look like I was performing at Woodstock or something. For a group who does mostly intimate venues and small events, this was a big thing.

So far, so good. We managed to pay off the venue fee on the first day. And every performance gets us about $200 closer to a CD. So, yeah. It's cool to see relatively large crowds.

Friday was all about getting used to the outdoor stages, but we had fun with it.

Saturday was decent, although I almost missed out by arriving RIGHT when we were supposed to come on. I guess I should have left the wedding reception a bit earlier. COMPLETELY my fault. So, for the first half, due to running four blocks to get to the stage, I was pretty breathless.

Sunday's shows weren't the greatest. I managed to not sing the right notes a few times, my low range was shot, I couldn't hear myself in the monitor, the tech tried to add reverb and genereally wasn't in the booth, and the sun was beating down on us, making us exhausted.

We regrouped today, and gave a decent afternoon show. And then came tonight.

We were worried we wouldn't perform due to the huge winds that came out of nowhere ten minutes before we were to start. Things getting toppled over, sand flying everywhere. Not prime conditions for a concert.

We told the tech, let's give the show a shot. We could always cut early if the winds were horrible. So we went on stage in a new order, with me right beside the monitor so I could always hear myself.

Small crowd, mostly due to the wind...at least to start.I guess it might have been the regrouping, the new order, the lack of blistering heat...I dunno. In any case, we started to kick ass! Whoooo!

We built the freakin' audience. What started off as about ten people turned out to be something like seventy or eighty. We were firing on all cylinders. MFJ was saying that was one of the better performances she's EVER heard us do...

Okay, halfway through the week. Let's see how the rest of Fringe goes.

* * *

The first play I saw this weekend was DieNasty, the improv soap opera. Now, I've only been a recent viewer (saw them three years ago at the 2001 Fringe Odyessy), but it's not as good as the old days. The current director rarely thinks about the story, and usually only thinks about silly things to do. Too many side roads, not enough main plot development.

In the line waiting for tickets, Canton, Astro and I struck up a conversation with some actors who had seen the set we performed about an hour prior. They liked our set, and we just started talking.

Whee! New friends made in that time. They're from Calgary, their play was called The Curse of the Jade Monkey. So we watched DieNasty together.

Even though it was uneven, there were still moments that made my temples hurt, they were so funny. I just loved the cat-hoarding scene, and the running joke involving humping a hairball (really, a wig) was priceless.

Then I saw Pulling Down, Morgan's play (HA! I KNEW I'd get the title...). It was not what I was expecting (drama with the occasional light moment to liven it up). Instead, it was heavy themes with the occasional black humour to really take it down a notch.

Still, it was a very well-written play, and the two actresses, Amber and Jenny did a great job. Just amazing, the performances. And SUCH an intense play.

Tonight, I got to see The Ecstasy of St. Teresa, a play featuring some friends I know.

It's all about a Spanish nun during the Spanish Inquisition. Good acting, despite the occasional slip in lines by Ian (I don't think he'd be able to live down his use of the line "riding a nun" - should have been "riding a mule" - if it weren't a whole bunch of friends watching the play. Good thing about having actors in the crowd: If a line is flubbed like that, they'd be less likely to laugh at him...) The problem for me and Canton was the script.

I tseemed like a sort of history lesson, in the fact that we had to process all this information that we weren't familiar with. "Oh, the small nun is the YOUNGER verison of the older nun. Gotcha. Why is Ian playing this scene differently? Oh, it's a different role." And so on.

It's almost as if we were being drilled on this piece of history with no context because there'd be a test at the end or something. Couldn't get ito the script that much. Good thing the performances made up for it...

Still on the list, the ESC (Damn you, See reviewer Mari Sasano!!!), the Moose Jaw play,The Curse of the Jade Monkey (promised I'd see it. I have a problem saying no to attractive women), Boygroove (got a date to see it with girlone. Joy!) and Glengarry Glen Ross.

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