I’ve done the Fringe for a few years now and one thing I can say for sure: my name alone doesn’t get butts in the seats. Audiences recognize the names of a few production companies (Transatlantic Love Affair, Four Humors) but it seems to me that at least part of what brings audiences back to the same artists year after year is the recognition of the personality.
Joseph Scrimshaw was a great example of a performer whose name drew people to his productions. It was both his writing and on stage charisma that keep them coming back.
In most cases, I don’t think audiences notice who wrote or directed a show at Fringe.
They see my name and they don’t think “hey – I remember the other shows that guy wrote.” They think: “who’s that guy?”
It’s my own fault, of course, for writing shows that don’t feature a part for me. And for being more of a character actor than a lead.
It can be frustrating, at times, to feel like you have to win your audience back with each successive year. Yet, that is what most fringe producers do. Those who don’t have to do that aren’t lucky. They are talented and consistent.
And I have to admit I’m just a little bit jealous.
I watched four shows on Saturday. One of them was mine so let’s talk about the other three, shall we?
Because I’m involved in my own shows, I tend to avoid writing audience reviews for anything unless it is a more obscure show that I think needs a nice bump. I have too much respect for any artist’s work to hurt their average star rating on the Fringe Festival site.
That’s why I blog my reviews. I can speak my mind about the show but in a way that doesn’t harm the producers chances of finding an audience.
Because the Fringe is (at least in part) about taking risks and trying new things. Even a bad show deserves an audience. They deserve the chance to have people tell them how they can produce a better show the next time around.
I’m not saying “don’t review shows on the Fringe site.” I’m saying that my own philosophy as an artist results in different choices when it comes to reviewing shows.
So all that said, here are reviews of the shows I saw on the first day of the Fringe Festival.
Last night, I watched four more shows. My Fringing will slow down a bit this weekend as my two shows open. Here’s the write up of what I saw yesterday. I apologize for the brevity but I’ve got to get ready for my shows at some point!
For the record, The Complete Works of William Shatner (abridged) opens at 1:00 today (Saturday the 4th) in the Rarig Thrust and we also have a performance at 5:30 tomorrow (Sunday the 5th). Stop Talking: A Game of Talking opens at 2:30 tomorrow.