Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I went to the New York International Fringe Festival

Never Done: Shadow post
Never Done: I went to the New York International Fringe Festival

Sometimes when I do something I've never done that I truly can't write about publicly, I write about something else. It was a banner crazy shit day -- I'll say that. And sadly for this blog, that is all I'll say.

But I did go to the New York Fringe Festival, which I am 99% sure (even though this is practically impossible to believe) I have never done before. Let's pretend I'm 100% sure. The show I went to see was on the Lower East Side, in a little space called Kabayitos in the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center. There is something so precious about spaces like this -- little 60-seat houses, up two flights in an old school -- where incredibly dedicated people present their souls to incredibly devoted theater goers. It just feels so lonely and decentralized -- and connected and unified. I know that's a huge contradiction, but I think that's what making small theater is most of the time. Every now and then, it all comes together. I made a show once that all came together. It was a perfect storm of all coming together, and it felt so disorienting that I didn't realize it was happening until, when the audience was clapping, and then standing, and I had left the stage, my friend D literally had to tell me to go back up there and take a second bow. I had been working on it all alone for so many years, and then with my collaborative team for so many months, that I was just not ready to integrate the sold-out, enthusiastic audience into the experience.

That's not what happened when I went to the Fringe. This show and audience did not all come together in a perfect media storm -- just like most of the shows I've been in, written, and worked on in my lifetime. This slight disconnect made me feel quite tender toward the show, and toward the audience, and toward the people working in it and the people working for it. It made me want to wrap everyone up in a big polar fleece blanket (except not really, because it was shvitzy in there) so let's see, different metaphor ... it made me want to pour everyone a nice tall glass of blended mint lemonade, and tell them how much I appreciate that they are digging into their souls to create and support theater.

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