The 2013 Frigid Festival is now over. It's been a mixed experience and I'm taking away a great deal of food for thought. On the upside, I got a great review from nytheatre.com. A good press review was one of the main things I was hoping to bring home, so mission accomplished there. I also met some amazing people and artists, such as Antonia Lassar, who's show The God Box brought me to tears. And Yanomi from Tokyo, who's A Day in the Life of Miss Hiccup should be introduced as “something completely different and totally adorable” because it is like a cross between Monty Python and Hello Kitty.
I also came away with a new Tales from the Fringe story. As anyone who has done a few fringes will testify, they come in various levels of organization from high efficiency warp drive to unstable wormhole. This story will give you a pretty good indication where Frigid falls on that spectrum. My last show of the festival was the first show of the day at 12:30pm on Saturday…
I arrived at noon and met the house manager emerging from the cave that is Under St. Marks looking puzzled. “There's something going on in there,” she says. 'Something' turned out to be a large group of people in the middle of a rehearsal, which they meant to continue for another hour and a half. Turns out the theater had been double booked. It happens. A few phone calls were bandied about and the rehearsal prematurely wrapped up and moved out. I felt sorry for them… it's never easy to gather that many people at one time and I could hear the poor director calling as they streamed past me, “Gather on the street, nobody leave until I figure out if there's another space we can use.” I got into the theater only slightly late, which on festival time means I had about 7 minutes to set up instead of the usual luxurious 15.
Which is when I noticed my tech person was missing. I still don't know if he read his schedule wrong or if the schedule he was given was faulty (he was otherwise wonderful and I'm inclined to believe the latter). At any rate he didn't make it. Fortunately it was a small house (it's brunch time on a Saturday after all) and even more fortunately the house manager, Katie, turned out to be Super Tech disguised as a mild-mannered New Yorker. I had the playlist on my iPad and an extra cue sheet, so she jumped into the booth in a single bound, ran a sound check faster than a speeding bullet, and BAM! I was able to do my show, or most of it. Katie was truly amazing. She hit almost every sound cue spot on and even improvised the lighting marvelously, all having never seen the show before.
So at this point, we've saved the day. The small audience is responsive and enjoying the show. Oh but wait, our story is not quite over. In the middle of the show, the door bangs loudly open and some confused people wander in. “Um, excuse me, is this, uh, I mean are we at…uh, we're looking for The Sandman?” Sandman was the next show. If you've ever wondered what a house manager if for, this is what happens when yours is in the tech booth instead of guarding the entrance. So we straighten them out, they leave, we're all like, “Well, that fits with the theme for today,” we laugh and the show goes on. Because the show must always. go. on.
I didn't realize when I started that this story was going to take over the post. But I suppose it was quite an adventurous hour and a half. So I'll leave the wrap up of lessons learned for the next installment. Until then, may the road rise to meet you and may all your fringe stories be boring.