Dear readers: I will not be writing about the Fringe this year. Not that I’ve ever written about the Fringe — luckily, TC Daily Planet has our wonderful Fringe bloggers who take on that herculean task. But this year I have even more of an excuse to not write about it because, as I found out this week, it looks like I am going to be a Fringe participant.
Now, I suppose you could argue that I could still write about it. After all, at least two of the Fringe bloggers have had shows in the festival and blogged about it during the same year. Also, throughout the year, I walk the very unclear line between being a theater artist and arts writer.
It is a constant dilemma. How can I review plays when I actively do theater? It’s something I struggle with, and, as a result, I have done done fewer reviews over the last year. (In part, that’s because I’ve been pretty busy being in shows.) On the one hand, I worry there could be a perceived bias, based on the connections that I have in the community. On the other, because I have been doing this for so long, I feel that I can share some insight that comes from being an artist myself.
When I write reviews about visual art, I have much less experience. Aside from the few studio art classes and one art history class I took in college, I don’t have a background in visual art. So my perception comes more as a general public observer, scribbling down my reactions, untrained though they may be.
I am more likely to enjoy a visual arts show than a theater piece. The cynical part of me thinks this is because the theater world seems a bit behind the times in comparison to other art forms, including dance, which, in my opinion, is exploding with new energy here in the Twin Cities.
But my cynicism regarding theater in general most likely has to do with how many years I spent studying it and doing it. I can’t help but be critical whenever I see a theater piece. Sometimes I wish that I could just erase that critical part of my brain so that I could just enjoy theater again.
I’m definitely not ready to give up on writing about theater yet. There is something that I get out of it, that fuels my own work. But I think I’ll take just a little mini-break and go ahead and enjoy being a performer for a little bit — at least until the Fringe is over.