Last week, the Ottawa Fringe Festival invited a bunch of us bloggers to a wine and cheese. As you know, I love free stuff, but what really got me there was (a) an opportunity to meet some of my favourite bloggers without them thinking I was stalking them [Even though bloggers tell you their favourite hangouts and where they are going, they may get freaked out if you show up at those places and introduce yourself]; and (b) guaranteed posting material.
In addition to excellent refreshments, they also gave each of us passes that were good for 2 shows. Plus there were bloggers there that I wanted to meet and we had a really fine time. [It turns out that Milan is as knowledgeable in person as he is on his blog. He's not just cutting and pasting. For example, we started talking about the solstice that occurred the day before. Someone asked, "does it happen at the same time all over the world, or does it go with the rotation, so if it's 5:00 in Halifax, it's 5:00 here and so on." I just said "no, same time all over" and before I could figure out how to explain why, Milan said, "If you think of the length of the day at any point on Earth as a sine curve, the solstices are the maxima and minima." Skylark said, "Oh, of course. Those would be the points on the curve where the first derivative is zero."]
Now that you know the kind of things we bloggers talk about when we're together, and you know of my possible conflict of interest, on with my review.
So far, I have seen two shows at the fringe. I didn't enjoy one of them much, so I won't tell you about it. However, I enjoyed Randy Rutherford's Singing at the Edge of the World. I think everybody who sees his show likes it. To find reviews from people much better than me at reviewing, you can just google.
In the next play, the one I didn't like, I tuned out a bit and reflected on the experience of seeing a play compared to going to a movie. Watching a good movie can be a wonderful experience, but watching a good play is somehow better. There may be glitches, we may not see the best take of twenty-five for every scene, but somehow it's more real and we are part of the performance. So how come there were probably more people at Ottawa's smallest cineplex on Friday night than there were at the entire Fringe Festival?
I think the problem is that people are reluctant to try something without a reason for thinking they will like it. It's pretty rare for a person to order tickets for whatever movie starts next. We pick movies because they have a star or director whose work we've liked before, because the trailer looked appealing, or we've heard a review. A review from a professional is good, but one from a friend is even better. (I went to Iron Man because Kathy and Roy said it was good. Well also because somebody I know thinks Robert Downey Jr. is hot.)
Fringe shows don't stick around town long enough for us to get recommendations from friends. There are no previews. The thumbs up guys on TV don't tell you which shows to go to.
You have to take chances.
And here's the thing... You might as well. How often do you hear a movie is great, the previews look compelling, its got stars you love, and then you really don't like the movie? More often than it should be, right?
So, take chances. I tried two plays at the fringe. One of them was the sort of story that could change your life. The other one, not so much, but it was only an hour and I still got something out of it.
And if you're in Toronto, Saskatoon or Victoria, you can still see Singing at the Edge of the World this summer.
- Ottawa Fringe Festival: Sunday Schedule Best in Fest
- Festivals in Ottawa
- Xpress Theatre Listings
- Randy Rutherford - 4:32 worth of the show
- July 3-12 Toronto
- Aug 1-9 Saskatoon
- Aug 25 - Sept 2 Victoria
Note: My apologies to Milan for not only misquoting him, but having him say something ridiculous. His quote is now accurate.