I’ve developed a lot of friends at the Fringe over the years. At first, I would try very hard to see all of their shows because that’s what friends do. Over time, I’ve reached the point where watching every show by a friend could mean I’d never see anything by someone I don’t know.
So I reached the point where I realized that everyone I knew was in the same boat as me. Making a choice to miss a friend’s show isn’t personal. You are only going to see so many shows over the course of eleven days.
When you reach that conclusion, it takes a little bit of the pressure off.
So if you are a friend of mine and I missed your show this year, I’m sorry. If you missed mine, that is OK too. I’m sure we can all still be friends.
I’ve been playing a lot of “Fringe Roulette” this year. While there are a lot of shows I want to see, most of them aren’t showing at a time I can see them (this weekend should change that). So instead, I’m just going to a show that is taking place close to where my shows are taking place. Those kinds of choices can result in finding some hidden gems.
So far this year, I haven’t had that kind of luck. I have seen very little that is terrible but I have seen a great deal that is mediocre.
I played Fringe Roulette with my first show yesterday and the result was…well…let’s just say I’m hoping my results are better next time.
All of my cats are humane society cats. The hardest part of adopting a cat from the humane society is reading the reasons the cat is there. One of my cats was abandoned when her owners moved. They left her to starve to death. If I ever met the people who did that to her, I’d want to punch them in the face.
While the headline for this article is misleading, I’m still annoyed to learn there are a large number of black cats who aren’t being adopted because people are shallow. You can’t find a good pet with a picture. You have to meet the animal and see if their personality meshes with yours.
The thing about people who abandon animals is they all have excuses. Aside from allergies, though, most excuses come down to failure to take responsibility for the animal. Pets are a responsibility and not a right. You have to be prepared to scoop up their shit and feed them and pay attention to them.
If you didn’t know that before you picked the animal up, the animal that needs to be returned is you.
I recognize that my choice means there are some shows I won’t get to see this year. That, however, is already to be expected. There are 169 shows in the Fringe and just over 50 potential slots an audience member can fill. I know some people who will Iron man the fringe and try to fill every available slot.
That goal is admirable but I need a night away from the Fringe to recharge my batteries. I’ll miss everyone at Fringe Central this evening. That community of artists is one of my favorite parts of the Fringe experience. But I’ve got to get some sleep!
So no new reviews tomorrow.
I saw three shows last night, though. Here’s my thoughts on those!
I have a lot of friends, old and new, who produce shows at the festival. I’m never sure how to review their shows because I would like them to continue to be my friends even if I didn’t like the show.
I try to remember that most people who write and produce work want to hear honest feedback because it helps them get better. When I wrote “Shroedinger’s Apocalypse” last year, I knew I was working far outside of my comfort zone. While I felt good about a lot of the writing, I also felt that it was an imperfect work and I really wanted my peers to help me explore what I could have done to write a better show.
All this is to say that I saw some shows by friends and I’m going to write reviews. The shows weren’t perfect, but they all had merit.
Fringe is a delightfully random experience at times. Over the weekend, I found myself going to shows simply because they were close to the venue I’d be performing in next. The result was a few gems and a lot of things that were…OK.
Here’s the reality of the Fringe. Most of the shows are neither great nor awful. Most of them are somewhere in the middle.
As a fellow artist, I have great respect for anyone who produces a show at the Fringe. They are all aiming to produce something of merit and with very few exceptions, there is merit in everything that appears on stage. Reviewing a show, for me, should be an act of encouraging them to get better rather than tearing down their efforts.
Trying and failing is something we’ve all done. The best producers at the Fringe have failed. At something. I hope. Otherwise they suck.
So I saw a lot of stuff that didn’t really impress the heck out of me this weekend. And that’s OK. If any of the producers read my reviews, I’m sure that you are happy with your show. If you find something in my review that will help you with your next show, great. If not, keep writing shows (if you want to) and remember that the best reviewers out there aren’t trying to tear you down – they are trying to make you better.
…which implies I think I’m one of the best reviewers and I don’t think that but anyway on to the reviews…
I have a lot more than 100 friends and figuring out who I’m going to write about last has proven to be a rather large challenge.
And so, my friends, I’m copping out. 100 was an arbitrary number. I could have just as easily written about 10 friends. Or 50. Or 99.
I’m not copping out, though. It was always my plan to make Friend #100 about all the friends I didn’t mention.
If I didn’t get to you, I’m sorry. The choice wasn’t personal. It had a lot more to do with who I felt like writing about on a particular day than any desire to write about specific people.
Writing about my friends made me realize how incredibly lucky we all are to have friends. As I forced myself to focus only on the positive aspects of people I know, I realized how much time we all spend focusing on the negative in ourselves and in others.
How fantastic is it that through such a disparate web of activities – college, Fringe, Renaissance Festival, CONvergence, etc – I have gotten to know so many amazing people?
And how unfair that I only chose to write about 100? There are literally hundreds more I could write about. Why didn’t I write about any of them?
Well, I’m writing about all of them now. Sort of.
All the people in my life matter to me because they are smart, funny, thoughtful, creative, playful, tenacious, talented, friendly, complicated, and mostly because they are present.
Human beings are social animals and while there are certainly times where I don’t need to be social, I’m quite glad that my life has provided me with so many opportunities to be around others.
Everyone has value to someone else. Everyone. The trick for me is to figure out what makes them valuable and to celebrate that thing. If you can, throw out all the rest.
Of a friend, I once said that all the best parts of them were the reason I put up with all parts that drove me nuts. Over time, I’ve come to realize that the same can be said of all the people I know. The best parts of all of them are the parts that are important to me.
So my final takeaway from the Friend a Day project is this: I may not be able to write about every friend I have. I can still choose to appreciate every friend I have.
And I do. Thanks for reading.