Sunday, April 17, 2005

Fringe 2005 - This Time Last Year...

I poked my head on the first gathering of Fringe producers and their reps the other day.

The handing out of the manilla envelopes with the golden page of times and dates and locations, and the even more golden Producers Handbook.

Seriously, people, read that thing. It is a blue print for a successful Fringe show (provided you're also talented and your show is entertaining - and sometimes even that's not necessary, as long as you follow instructions)

Last year, helping with juggling three shows, that handbook saved my butt. All the deadlines, all the forms, all the things I needed to be thinking about.

It's written by people who have seen, literally, hundreds of Fringe shows come and go. You may think your problems are unique but honestly, they've seen it before. It's in the handbook.

Last year, around tech time, I knew a producer who still hadn't read the handbook. He had all these questions about tech. After I got my head out of my hands, I pulled my handbook out of my backpack, plopped it down on the table and pointed to every single piece of information he needed.

This time last year, one of my fellow producers was in the hospital. I went from the handbook meeting to his room for a visit. Thankfully, this year, we're all in fine health. The fact that neither of us is producing a Fringe show this year I'm sure has nothing to do with it (hee hee)

As a side note, I know she's spoken for and, heck, I'm gay, but I love Leah Cooper. And all her merry band of fellow travelers on the Fringe staff. They genuinely love artists and want to improve the opportunities for all varieties of performance - artists fresh off the turnip truck and artists who've been around the block so many times that they've lost count. It's one big huge party, and come August, the general public's invited in to join the fun as well. (My mother is officially a Fringe junkie now, too. She plans her summer vacation to visit me around the Fringe dates and comes in from Pennsylvania to partake of the glorious sloppy grab bag of a mess of theater it never fails to provide.) It is the best breeding ground for performing artists I've run across in my 13-plus years living in the Twin Cities. We've got the biggest Fringe in the U.S., and in this case, the biggest also happens to be the best. And the Fringe staff is a very large part of why that's so. So give them a little love, people. They've more than earned it.

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