I love Fringe.


As we enter the final days of the 2010 Fringe Festival (still time to see lots of shows – get out there!!), I have to say that in spite of being sick the ENTIRE time, this was possibly the best Fringe yet. I’ve genuinely liked, if not loved, everything I’ve seen, which makes me wonder whether my choices were too safe, or if across the board the quality of the shows is just that high.

I’ve enjoyed reading the record number of audience reviews on the gorgeous Fringe website and trying to figure out the criteria each reviewer used for assigning kitties. Conclusion: there is no rhyme or reason whatsoever. Everything from “There was no plot, I hated it, the actors didn’t know their lines, but they all seemed to be breathing: 5 kitties!” to “All-star cast, interesting story, tight direction, but since I hate success and sitting in a full theater: 0 kitties!”

As a Fringe board member, I have the privilege of being part of the behind the scenes inner workings of the festival. That still does not prepare me for the awesomeness, day after day, of staff and volunteers skillfully wrangling mobs of hungry theater patrons into neat, fast-moving lines, handing out tickets without a hitch, ushering the audience into a show and then whisking them out – all in under 90 minutes, total. And then they do it again, and again, and again. A huge thank you to all of the incredible volunteers and staff. You are as critical to this festival as the performers on stage.

Day after day, packed house after packed house, I wonder whether the Fringe needs to get bigger to accommodate even more shows and even more patrons. I wonder if smoothly running systems means we’re not really that “fringey” any more. I wonder if we deserve the luxury of air conditioning in every single venue. I wonder if I’m insane and decide to just accept the fact that this year, everything is perfect.

I finally stayed up late and hung out at Fringe Central last night. Did some dancing, consumed some Summit (a nod to one of our sponsors!), stood wedged in glorious Fringe humanity on the Bedlam rooftop patio. Had the pleasure of close proximity and a nice chat with Joel Smith of casebolt and smith (Sunday 1:00 at the Southern. Be there.). Bob deemed Joel even gayer in person, and questioned my fantasy of turning him. A girl (and a few of her girlfriends) can dream, right? The excellent news is that Joel says they’re working on finding a way to spend more time in Minneapolis (Joel and Liz live in LA).

Okay, go see shows!