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THE ROVER: FRINGE-For-All; Fringe preview highlights coming festival
6 juin 2012
Fringe [frinj] (n): any of the light or dark bands produced by the diffraction or interference of light; a border of hair that is cut short and hangs across the forehead; social group holding marginal or extreme views. And the Fringe Festival means just that. In other words, anything you want it to mean.
Although the festival is beginning its 22nd year, I was surprised to learn that there are still people in Montreal who are not quite aware of it. The Fringe prides itself in being an all-encompassing festival and embracing all artistic mediums in its program. What makes the Fringe Festival (or, if you will, theFestival St-Ambroise Fringe de Montréal) unique is how the program is put together and where the proceeds go. Artists are selected by lottery where the only criteria is that 60% of artists are from Quebec (half English, half French), 20% Canadian, and 20% international, making for an incredibly diverse selection of artists. Ticket prices are kept low in order to maintain accessibility and all proceeds go directly to the artists.
The idea is phenomenal, encouraging people to take chances and to express their liberty, diversity and creativity. The Fringe is all about “chasing your dreams… while producing a few nightmares,” according to English spokesperson Dan Bingham. A valid point. But at which point is the Fringe Fest too accessible? Benoit Drouin-Germain, l’autre porte parole, a dit en français, “Be prepared to perform in front of half empty auditoriums, to still be poor, and to have minimal press coverage. Profitez en!” Everyone laughed. But not everyone can be as lucky as Dan Bingham, who quit his day job to chase his dream, but I guess it’s worth the risk.
Last night’s Fringe For All preview and launch was full of drag queens, screaming people, zombies, watermelons and lab coats… among other things. But one show stood out that mirrors Dan Bingham’s inspiring story, and Uncanny Theatre calls it Miner Inconvenience.
It’s the story of Mario Ticona and Santos Martinez, an experienced mining foreman and a rebellious young worker. A typical day transforms into the start of a two-month ordeal when a cave-in confines the men to a small part of the mine. Plunged in darkness, they rely on a pair of flashlights to see each other and their surroundings. With nowhere to go, they have nothing but time to reflect on how trapped they are; both in the mine and in their lives. Can they persevere or will they choose to take an easier way out? This claustrophobic tale of two trapped miners, lit mainly by flashlights, will be shown in the intimate Freestanding room (4324 St. Laurent).
“Few people will experience being stuck in a cave, but haven’t we all had times where we worried about not being able to achieve our dreams? We’ve all felt ‘trapped’ in bad situations at one time or another and it can be just as demoralizing as being trapped in a literal cave,” says writer-director Jonathan Fournier. Check out their Facebook page for show times and ticket prices.
For many, this is what the Fringe Fest is all about: living your dreams, even if you aren’t any good. It doesn’t matter because the Fringe family is, according to their promo video, “a group of awesome, crazy artistic people who are willing to accept each other.”
Last year, the Fringe catered to over 50,000 audience members. This year, 600 tickets have already been sold, breaking the record number of ticket sales to date. It looks like a promising 22nd anniversary pour Le Festival St-Ambroise Fringe de Montreal.
For more information go here.