The Playgoer: What a Fringe is For?

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Friday, August 25, 2006

What a Fringe is For?

"This is a wonderful chance for companies to really develop a show in front of an audience, but often it simply doesn't happen. Instead of saying, 'OK, what we've got is interesting, but it could be a whole lot better with some really hard graft,' once Edinburgh is over many people simply move onto the next project. At best, they take some of the skills learned with them, but this lack of attention to process means that potentially great shows never realise their promise. In the end we are all the losers."

- Guardian blogger Lyn Gardner, reminding us that Fringe fests are valuable for truly developing work, not just showcasing it.

Of course, true development would require low overhead cost and less public-eye exposure and hype.

ADDENDUM: According to a Jason Zinoman article in Saturday's Times, things at Fringe NYC are getting one more step further away from this ideal:

On Sept. 5, two producers who have presented at the Fringe will inaugurate a new series that provides audiences with a second chance to catch the most buzzed-about shows, which are often sold out (or gone) by the time you hear of them. Ten of the audiences’ and critics’ favorites from the current festival will run in repertory at two downtown theaters through Sept. 24 in what the organizers, Britt Lafield and John Pinckard, say will become an annual showcase called FringeNYC Encores. For the Fringe, this provides another opportunity for its shows to be noticed by producers and earn a possible commercial transfer.

1 comment:

PeonInChief said...

The biggest problem, of course, is money. Fringe is hugely expensive to produce, so they're always looking for something to draw enough people to pay the cost of producing it. I remember reading some months ago that Edinburgh was depending on George Clooney's appearance to help wipe out the $2 million deficit from previous festivals.