Ottawa Gets Fringefluenza (A1A1)

The Ottawa Fringe Festival (June 18th – 28th) is in full swing with an astonishing line-up of quirky, intriguing, experimental and outrageous productions.

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Some of us Ottawa bloggers were invited to a wine and cheese last evening by the Fringe people. They wined us and cheesed us and we had some interesting conversations with some of the Fringe performers who were out promoting their shows.  In exchange for all this wining, cheesing and schmoozing, the bloggers were asked (kindly) to write a little something about Fringe.

The first thing I’ll write about is how they happen to choose the bloggers that were invited. I think it was a kind of hit or miss selection process – if they’d somehow stumbled across a blog and could find an email address, you got an invitation. They did ask for our Breakfast Bloggers mailing list, but of course we couldn’t give them that. Zoom offered to send out an invitation on behalf of the Fringe, but they didn’t like that idea. So in the end, they didn’t get a lot of bloggers turn out. Which was okay because that meant more cheese for us!!

I haven’t been to any of the shows yet (because I had to rush off to the airport to pick up the kid’s latest houseguest last night) but I know at least one I’d like to see. I spent quite a bit of time last night chatting to one of the performers/writers of We Never Clothed. During WWII dedicated actors and theatre-goers apparently didn’t let a little thing like bombs going off around them get in the way of their enjoyment of the arts. They held productions in bunkers and basements and the shows did go on. We Never Clothed is a little celebration of that spirit; of control and freedom in an environment of chaos and enforced conformity.

I also had a chance to chat briefly with John Sweet about his one-man dark comedy, Waiting for Andre. John is just back from performing this piece in the Czech Republic to very good reviews. It’s not My Dinner With Andre, nor Waiting for Godot. Though it may or may not have elements of either or both. Very cryptic.

I also had the pleasure of meeting the delightful Ashley Robinson, writer/creator/performer of Antique Bliss, which I may send XUP Jr. and her houseguest to go and see this week.

Anyway, the fun’s happening from early evening until late into the night every day and all day long on weekends. All the venues are centrally located downtown and tickets are all (very reasonably) between $8 and $10. With over 50 different shows there are bound to be a few that will make you crazy with love.

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For more Fringe views and reviews, check back here and also check out Zoom, Megan Butcher, Jo Stockton, Milan, the gang from Apt. 613, Jamine and maybe even the Elgin Street Irregulars (although they didn’t show for the wining and cheesing).

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UPDATE: The kid and her houseguest enthusiastically went to see No Exit Upstage this afternoon. They chose it because it seemed like something accessible to them and because it was one of the things on this afternoon.  Although they are both seasoned theatre-going veterans they found the play confusing and not at all youth-friendly. They said everyone in the audience was “really old” and that the two of them didn’t get most of the jokes everyone was laughing at. Other than that they found it “okay”.