Prizes time forgot...
So in the midst of all the carousing at the Fringe’s festival-ending dance party, one thing was made clear: the Frankies are getting fat. There were more awards then ever on Sunday night (16), each celebrating their own particular niche: Best English Production, Best Multidisciplinary Show, Best One Person Show Involving a Dog Dressed as an Ape. These niche awards are important and provide much needed recognition, but I found myself missing the more artistic awards of other shows. Where was the prize for best acting?
We often forget about the art of acting during the Fringe, where spectacle and theatrical wizardry tend to seize the spotlight. And since many shows are written specifically for a certain actor, we often assume that the actors are just playing slightly altered versions of themselves. But this assumption leads us to ignore the many fine performances given by actors who are called upon to do more then they are ever asked to during the average “professional” show.
Given the number of theatre schools in this city, it’s surprising that none of them have come forward to give out any acting awards. After all, theatre schools live and die on the claim that they can recognize talent. Let them give out an award to prove it.
I didn’t see enough shows to give out any acting awards of my own, but I do think that, despite the glut of awards, a few important honours were missed. So I’m inaugurating the 2011 Fishy Awards, which like many awards are prestigious, random and wholly unnecessary.
The Worst Venue Award – Venue 4, The Hour Stage. Despite the close proximity of this venue to the beer tent, it’s a crap-tastic place to either see or perform a show. Poor Jem Rolls has been there for years and he remarked that he has developed “an intimate relationship” with the pillar that blocks most of the audience’s view.
Best Ticket Taker – Robin Henderson Presents, The Only Bar. It’s a little known secret that the Montreal Fringe runs on the honour code: at almost every show I saw, nobody ever asked to see my ticket. Not so at The Only Bar. Robin Henderson somehow snagged a volunteer who practically assaulted me on my way inside and demanded to see my proof of purchase.
The Best Trainwreck Award – Between Gossip and Dreams, Psychic Puppy Productions. Some shows should never leave the station.
Best Overheard Quote — “It’s like someone raped my childhood!” Spoken by the anonymous person who I overheard talking about “The Last Will and Testament of Daddy Warbucks.”
Best NewsMaking Event that Took Me Away from the Fringe — Congressman Anthony Weiner, who resigned in the wake of a sex scandal in which he was caught sending pictures of his junk over the Internet. Apparently, he’s already been offered a job as new leader of the Liberal Party - the Liberals were impressed with his photographs since these days they need someone with a big set of balls.