“Like Christmas For Actors” – The Toronto Fringe

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Yay fringe! yay kisses!

Yay fringe! yay kisses!

Someone said to me a couple years ago that the annual Fringe Festival was like “Christmas for actors”; you see people you haven’t seen in months, everyone is pumped up and looking to celebrate, and you spend one week floating from show to show, running into old friends and getting excited for all the surprises the plays have to offer. It’s an event that’s fun for spectators and theatre-goers, but it really is more than that for those of us in the theatre community. It is a chance to spend time with those we love and to briefly rekindle those intense friendships that often live out their full life cycle in the few short weeks of a run of a play.

This year, sadly, I will have very little opportunity to hang around the Fringe. I am currently in Waterloo, signed up for a week long millinery class at Stratford Off The Wall; I’ll be missing all but 2 days of the Fringe. Still, I did make it downtown briefly on Friday, just to check out the scene and see what was happening this year.

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Chris at I in the alley; he lost his “Fringe Virginity” that night.

The great thing about the Fringe Alley and Fringe Tent is that there is always someone you know there. A constant flood of people, it’s like a huge eye-spy game trying to spot old friends and flag them down before they rush off to see a show. I was pleasantly surprised to find that a friend of mine was putting on a show in the alley and luckily got a chance to see it that night (be sure to check out Theatre Double Take‘s My Last).

There’s cheap beer and great music; I happened to catch a bit of Birds of Bellwoods and totally loved it.

Birds of Bellwoods

Birds of Bellwoods

One difference I noticed this year was that they seem to have stopped the “Fringe Run” – a good idea in my opinion, as it only ever lead to ripped posters and bruised knees. Instead, a laminated wall shows one of each poster, and it was great to be able to see them all together and compare.

The poster wall

The poster wall

The one downside to this is you really do end up comparing the quality of the posters, and I’ll be honest, there were a few that, next to the more professional looking ones, were crappy enough I actually made up my mind not to see them. I won’t be a jerk and post those ones, but will instead show a few whose design really caught my eye; I don’t know these groups or anything about the shows, but they immediately grabbed my attention with their great design.

So while my Fringe time may be cut short this year, I’ve already enjoyed it. If you get the chance to check out some of this year’s Toronto Fringe, be sure to look at Bygone Theatre’s Fringe Picks for a couple not-to-be-missed productions.

All for now!
-E.