What a delightful last two weeks I’ve had. No, really. This is the first year I’ve really done Fringe right. Last year I was too overwhelmed with all the choices, all the shows, and wasn’t prepared for the energy it takes to work all day and Fringe all night.
But I had a plan this year. And it worked. Mostly.
I saw 15 of the 40 Fringe offerings. I reviewed 14 (and will have comments about the last in a paragraph or two). I participated in the Festival every day but two – one, because I had another play to see elsewhere and one because I was simply too tired to go. I saw zero of the Award winners and yet I have no regrets.
And most importantly I made some new friends (And despite my reviews, I don’t think I lost any). Even better, I strengthened some relationships. As I said in my first post this year about Fringe, relationships are the key to the experience for me.
I loved METH: a love story. I was blown away by MOUTHY BITCH. I was moved by ZOMBIE LOGUE. I marveled at the performances in HITCHHIKERS MAY BE INMATES. FIXATE was solid; OCCUPATIONAL PLEASURES made me giggle. And SHELTER made me cry.
But it was CODY CLARK: A DIFFERENT WAY OF THINKING – my last Fringe show – that perfectly encompassed what Fringe is all about. This young man, a brave performer who despite his challenges has followed his passion for magic. His show, like all great Fringe shows, tells a compelling story. His presentation is charming, enchanting even. And I was very moved by his story.
Of course, I was there on an extra special day. Cody’s family was seated right in front of me, which gave his personal retellings even more heart. And in the room was a great collection of Fringers; passionate patrons like Joe Mock and Greg Schaper, critic Rick Pender, and artists like Jon Kovach, Sara Mackie, and Paul Strickland. Strickland got pulled on stage because he and Clark have a history: Cody opened for Paul at a comedy club in Louisville.
As I was leaving the theatre after this beautiful show, I knew that the final capstone had been placed on my 2015 Fringe experience. I’m already looking forward to next year. If you didn’t participate in some way, I’d strongly urge you to plan on it next year. Chris Wesselman, the associate producer, deserves a standing ovation for all his hard work as do all of those associated with Know Theatre, the Fringe jury, and everyone who had the guts to get on stage, write a piece, or put themselves out there in anyway.
The Cincinnati Theatre community is that – a community – and I’m so grateful to be a part of it.
Stay tuned to KnowTheatre.com for all sorts of information about Fringe 2016, Serials 3, a terrific MainStage lineup, and more!