Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Fringe 2011 - Apparently Size Does Matter

photo from Joking Envelope

Are Minnesotans, or Fringers in general, just shy?

"Oh no, we're good and we're popular, but we're not so popular we'd need a large venue. Medium will be just fine, thanks."

The speediest part of the 3-part Minnesota Fringe Festival lottery the other day was the Large Venue category.


Well, they had two large venues lined up (names still to be released, they said the Fringe wanted to make it all about the producers this week, and the big unveiling of the locations will come later)

Each venue has 11 shows, so that's 22 slots for Large Venue shows.

21 artists applied for large venues.

An artist behind me cried out, "I just did math in my head! All we need now is $600!"

Yes, everyone who labeled themselves Large automatically got in, and they still had one slot to spare on the schedule.

So the plan was for the Fringe to contact via email all the Medium and Small companies who made the cut, and whoever wanted to pay for the upgrade to a large venue and got back to the Fringe staff first, well, they move up a notch.

Which moves everyone in their previous category up a notch.

Which pulls #1 off of one of those wait lists.

Upwardly mobile already. And it was only the day after the lottery.

A friend of mine wondered if this meant that next year more people would apply for the Large Venue category.

I'm of two minds on that.

One mind says, well, the odds right now are great for the Large Venue artists. Both a couple of people in front of me and behind me were able to just put on their coats at the break and leave. "Best. Lottery. Ever." for them.

The other mind says, well, the application fee is more expensive, you've got more seats to fill, and if you don't, the place seems cavernous, and you have a harder time making your money back. Sure, your payout is 70 percent rather than the 65 percent in the medium and small categories. But 70 percent of nothing is still nothing.

However, the odds argument may win for some.

There were 9 medium size venues - 99 slots - for 217 applicants

There were 4 small size venues - 44 slots - for 118 applicants

That's 335 artists waiting, some of them til the bitter end of the waiting list, for their number to be drawn.

But that automatic "you're all in" for the Large venue folk sure did speed the evening along.

And in the large category we have a lot of old favorites - not surprisingly - both jokers (Joking Envelope and Joking Apart), both Fotii projects (Ferrari McSpeedy, and the Importance of Being Fotis), Buckets & Tap Shoes, Tedious Brief (who brought us "Bard Fiction" two years ago), Third Rabbit Dance, Top Hat Theatre, Dead Composers Society, and Theatre Arlo (the next incarnation of Matthew Foster theater)

And that's less than half of them.

Good things come in large packages, too.

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