Random Thoughts as Hardcore Fringe Approaches
Anonymity (again...), accidents, opinions in public...
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois
- As you know if you have been following along on these pages, I am not fond of anonymous posting. The Fringe is a festival of anonymity when it comes to presenting opinions. I see that in the Fringe Buzz Twitter feed, when it comes to opinions already being expressed about shows not even open; I see it beginning here on the site; I see it in the hundreds of places, notably comments-board, where people offer both positive and negative feedback. Often no names are attached. I do like, though, the passion of some of the comments and, in some cases, the informed nature of them. This is why I put up with the anonymity. But I will say this: the same way some anonymous assholes treat people like shit, so will I feel free to treat the anonymous.
This is theatre - the essence of it: we love, we hate, we share.
- I've already seen a trio of shows, this week, as a test of my own endurance. It all went off fairly well and I was very careful about the medical issues I face. But all that nearly went down the toilet when a seat I was sitting on in one of the venues tipped off the riser as I stood to leave, and I went tumbling off wrapped in the chair. It could have been very bad for me. The young couple who helped me up said they expected something like this as the young man had been rocking in his chair and she had to stop him from doing it because she saw he might go flying. Hey! Fringe folk! this is a lawsuit waiting to happen!
- As much as I like (even love) the fact that perfect strangers milling about a Fringe venue openly express opinions to each other, I couldn't help cringing a little when two groups, in one lineup, just tore strips off one show. All I could think, as they went at it with gusto, was that someone in the same crowd might have been directly involved with the condemned production. However, this is theatre - the essence of it: we love, we hate, we share. But what might happen, I wondered, if we did it there, in the house; by leaving during the piece, by even booing or, at least, refusing to clap. Bitching after is a bit anonymous, isn't it? Don't the creators merit these opinions (as they occasionally merit our compulsive standing-os)? Just putting that out there...
If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right.
- Everyone is a critic. Really! So when you do express an opinion here or elsewhere, try to go beyond "It's boring!", "It's shit!" or "It's great!" Bring your experience to the discussion or, if you only have the experience of the one play itself, bring that. Tell us why you were moved, laughed, or were bored.
- The Guardian dance critic went to see a Dave St-Pierre show in London, last week. The dancers, at one point, went into the audience nude, dangled their bits in people's faces, and even spread their ass-cheeks to point their arseholes at audience members. Then one performer noticed the Guardian critic taking notes, grabbed the critic's glasses and spat on them. Can you say: hostile? The critic bellowed, "Fuck off!" at the dancer. Due warning: in a similar artistically OTT situation, I would yell the same thing...or far, far worse.
- The Fringe is fun, even for critics. If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right.