Victoria Fringe 2013
I swear I’m not dead.
School has just taken over my life, is all. What with acting for film and television class, voice class with some dialect work and interpreting text work, movement monologues with half-masks, theatre history class on the theories of acting, working part-time in the box office, homework, socializing, eating, sleeping, and rehearsals for the first mainstage production almost every evening and all day Saturdays…
Yeah. Not dead yet. Close, but not quite.
And so my poor blog has been neglected. Sigh.
Now it’s time to review my Fringe Festival journey. It was truly amazing that I befriended so many amazing people through the theatre department at Uvic. I joined the improv club first thing in my first year, and even began co-leading workshops with my partner-in-crime Blair by second year. We had done Uvic residence improv shows together before, and we had always discussed getting a group of talented actors/improvisers together and forming a company to perform improv more seriously, maybe even with a paying audience. We both agreed that there was an abundance of improv talent and new blood at Uvic, and that we’d love to see these new talents have a chance to perform for the community.
Then in January of this year, we decided to meet up at a local Tim Hortons and brainstorm our potential ideas. Fringe applications for August were posted online, and the deadline was fast approaching. To enter the festival and secure an official spot, we decided not to gamble on the lottery system, but go with the local early bird entry. This required us to line up outside Intrepid theatre (starting somewhere around 3pm the day before the application was due) and camp out all night long to hand in our application the next day. There are only 10 spots for local early bird applications, but it means a guaranteed admission.
When we secured our spot, it was time to cast our ensemble. We came up with the name Singles Awareness through our brainstorming, and decided to add some sketch comedy in with our improv games. We already had a pretty good idea about some of the cast members we wanted in our ensemble, and we also held auditions very early on in March or April, seeing as I had to go to Orlando in May. Blair and I were exceptionally happy with the cast we were able to assemble. They each had the comedic timing, acting chops, and improv skills we were looking for, and they worked so well with each other.
While in Orlando, I would usually come home after a twelve hour day at work, sit in my dorm room, and write sketches. Not all of them worked, but the ones that did I posted for our cast to see and read. Blair did the same, and by the time we got back together in August, we had enough skits and improv game ideas to perform a 55 minute show.
Our rehearsal process spanned a total of about 3 weeks in August. In that time, we rehearsed skits individually, found ways of connecting them and ordering them all together, and played around with the improv games that were also added. It was amazing to see the words on the page that I wrote come to life before my eyes. It made me realize how truly collaborative theatre is, and how important it is for a cast to come together as a team. Most of the time, as the playwright of the sketch, I would have a vision for how I wanted it staged as the director; what was even better was when the actor would make a choice I didn’t even think of, that was much better than anything I could have come up with on my own. These choices happened non-stop, and the collaborative decisions we made as a team created an end product that I was truly proud of.
We performed the show a total of six times over the course of the two week Fringe Festival. We had many supportive audiences, and one not so supportive. We learned the importance of great and inspiring suggestions from audience members. We also had a crap ton of fun. I must apologize in hindsight to my actors for being a stressed ball of nerves at times. I was nervous that this project we had created – my baby – was not going to run as smoothly or be as well received by audiences as it turned out to be. I think that was a direct reaction to the very short three week rehearsal time we had. But by the time the show opened, I was convinced and believed in this show, this cast, and all the hard work and talent we brought to each show.
To all my actors in this piece –
I wasn’t able to write you all individual thank you cards, so I’m making up for it now. Thank you all for agreeing to join in on this crazy ride we had. You put your faith and support into two friends you knew who loved to make people laugh, and who wanted a chance to bring this passion for comedy to our community. We wanted more than anything to bring together new blood, because we saw the potential our school and community has for new faces in improv. I know I can speak on Blair’s behalf when I say that we are so proud of all of you. Thank you. You guys made the show, we really could not have done it without a single one of you. Your talents and skills for theatre, for life, for work, for friends, for comedy, we loved from the very beginning, and I know they’ll take you far in life. I hope to work again with all of you in the future.
And to Blair – None of this would have happened if it weren’t for you. Thanks for driving this crazy train with me as your co-pilot. We done good.
One of these days when I’m not busy, I’ll upload some of the sketches we videotaped to my Youtube account. But for now, it’s time I turn my sights to The Skin of Our Teeth – the Phoenix theatre’s next mainstage production, where I will be performing as the Fortune Teller on alternating nights.
Posted on October 17, 2013, in Projects, Theatre and tagged acting, Fringe, Fringe Festival, improv, Phoenix Theatre, school, Theatre, University of Victoria, Uvic, Victoria. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.