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Monday, August 6, 2007

Thing 55: Capital Fringe

I have been thinking and thinking, for over a week now, on how to blog about fringe.

Part of the problem is that this year I didn't like the only show I saw and in a roundabout way I am connected to the producers, so I feel I need to tread lightly.

Then again, saying glowing things about something I didn't like much is a really bad way to lose the trust of those half a dozen of you who read this blog regularly. (Oh, I'm being modest. There are at least of dozen of you out there. Hi, Mom!).

So, here we go: regardless of how good or bad the show you get to see is, the Capital Fringe Festival makes DC a better place to live and visit.

Haven't fringed yet? Well, sadly, because it took me so darn long to mull this entry over, this year's festival has come and gone. You will need to wait until the Capital Fringe Festival 2008 to dive in and experience it for yourself. And it's worth doing, even when the show(s) you see isn't very good, or the theater isn't actually a theater but a church with no air conditioning, or it is a one man show starring a man with no business starring in a one man show. Live theater makes makes this city better. Supporting local theater companies, actors, dancers, puppeteers, singers, directors and artists is an important part of living in a vibrant urban area. Nurturing a fledgling arts festival, only in its second year and with the promise of so many more years of silliness and beauty and spectacular successes and failures is such a worthy way to spend an evening and $20.

Capital Fringe is modelled after the mother of all fringe festivals, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I have never been, but I do know someone who worked it one year, and it is basically a literal and figurative orgy of arts. For three weeks every August, all manner and types of alternative theater set up shop in every crevice of Edinburgh. According to wikipedia, there were 261 venues last year and over one million tickets sold.

Well, Edinburgh has had 60 years to get to its level of madness. Capital Fringe just wrapped up its second year and already can boast 120 arts groups putting on more than 500 performances in 30 venues over 11 days. 19,000 tickets sold! For a town whose main hobbies include politics and bureaucracies, we do pretty good.

So next year, take a chance. Buy a festival pass and see as much theater as you can, or just close your eyes and point to one show and see what happens.


Kate said...

Thanks for sending me a link to your it. (And looking at photos of your Murky Coffee breakfast is making me hungry.)