Monday, July 22, 2019

Dear 2019 Fringe, It’s Not You, It’s Me

This is just going to be a weird Fringe for me.  And it’s very likely to effect what I see and the way I blog. So I feel like I need to provide a little context.

My mother visited me every summer for the last 16 years very specifically at this time of year so she could spend time with me and binge on a whole lot of theater in the space of a week.  My mother loved the Minnesota Fringe Festival, and if the outpouring of support over the last couple of months is any indication, the Fringe loved her right back.

At the end of April, mom was admitted to the hospital back in Pennsylvania, where she lives with my brother.  I flew back to be with them for a couple of months as we sorted out what we thought was the beginning of her medical odyssey.

By mid-May, she had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.

By the end of May, she had been moved into a rehabilitation facility, while also undergoing radiation and chemotherapy to buy her more time.

I returned to Minnesota for the last week and a half of June, planning to return on a monthly basis, starting at the end of July, for however many months (they were projecting six to twelve at the time of diagnosis) she had left.

It took several different discussions with her doctors before Mom finally had to recognize the fact that she wouldn’t be able to come to the Minnesota Fringe Festival this year.  Her radiation treatments would just have been concluded toward the end of July, and it would take several weeks for her energy level to bounce back.  I was planning to consult with her throughout the month of July about my Fringe-going schedule, check in daily about my Fringe adventures during the festival itself, and then create a scrapbook for her, like the ones she created each year after her visits, full of programs and tickets and pictures and reviews.

It was hard to guess which Fringe would be sadder, this one, where she wanted to but couldn’t be present because of her health, or next year, when she’d very likely be gone.

Turns out we get to cram both of those experiences together into one, this year.

Due to complications, Mom died quite suddenly and unexpectedly on July 1st.

Three weeks ago today.

So… yeah.

The first round of Fringe previews last Monday were hard to get through.  But as I suspected, I felt better going, than not going.  I felt closer to Mom at a Fringe event than I did just sitting at home by myself.

So I’m back again tonight for round two of the previews.

But there are just shows this year that, in any other year I’d be right there watching them, but this year I’m getting very clear indications from the pit in my stomach that I would not be a good audience member.

So my show selection is markedly different this year.

I’ll try to keep the “Mom would have loved this” comments to a minimum in actual reviews.  I’ll restrict the liberal use of that phrase to these upcoming pre-Fringe blog postings this week.

Because I was otherwise engaged the first half of July, again back in Pennsylvania, I’m a little behind the eight ball in my Fringe prep.

But I’ve got a Top 10/Top 20 list figured out, and I’ve got a list of returning favorites, and the beginnings of an actual schedule.  So there’s stuff to talk about.

So I might as well get started.

Just… consider the source.

And thanks for understanding.

For a quick list of links to my other postings, check out my Top 10 and Top 11-20 new Fringe artists to check out for Fringe 2019.  There's also Returning Favorites, and Fringe Shows I Just Can't Watch Right Now, but You Probably Should.  If you want to keep me company, during my first Fringe without Mom, I'll be posting my schedule here.  Also, here's some links if you want to hit all the Fringe 2019 blog posts, or see the full Fringe Archive from years past (just keep scrolling down, or hit the different years in the archive listing for the full blog on the right side of the screen and zero in on July and August)

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