Localife Edmonton: A night at the FringeAugust 31, 2013
By Dan Neilson
Edmonton is often considered Festival City, so much so that it can be hard to justify taking a vacation over the summer months because you will miss out on so much that is happening around town. One of the cornerstones of the festivals in Edmonton is the International Fringe Theatre festival, which has been taking place for over three decades. This ten-day play festival has something that can appeal to everyone, so Ash and I thought it would be a great chance to get everyone together for one last summer gathering. On quite a chilly August evening we met up in the beer tents on the Fringe grounds to enjoy some of the world’s finest cuisine: mini doughnuts. We had the chance to get caught up with what everyone had been up to over so far during the summer, and found out what people had planned for the last couple weeks of warm weather.
After eating dangerously large amounts of the deep fried dough, we headed to our venue to watch the play that we picked out entitled Kuwaiti Moonshine. I would love to make the claim that Ashley and I spent hours researching the program guide finding a play that would be inspiring and fitting for our group. Such a claim would be a lie. Instead, we picked our play randomly and crossed our fingers that it would be good. This is not an uncommon practice at the Fringe, as each day there can be over one hundred different performances, and rolling the dice with a play is a great way to find a hidden gem, or as is often the case simply being forced to sit through an hour of bad acting. It is all part of the complete Fringe experience.
I am very happy to say that our play was actually a very appropriate selection for our group. The story was of a young man who found himself in a very dark and scary place in his life, and through this adversity he was able to find understanding, clarity, and even beauty. Certainly all who are members of our exclusive group can relate to experiencing some very low and dark times, and depending on where they are in their own journey, may be able to see that they now have a new perspective and direction from this, and that this not a bad thing. I know I came out seeing very clear parallels to my journey. At the very least, we got to see a well-acted play, which on several occasions managed to make fun of Nickelback. That alone was worth the price of admission.
After the play got out, we hung around in the lobby of the theatre discussing what we thought of it, staying just long enough to get meet the actor from the performance (second from right). A perk of the Fringe being such an intimate festival is the chance to interact with those actually performing. With the night getting later, and the chill in the air getting ever more evident, we went our separate ways. I may have felt half sick from the festival food, but I left with a bit more bounce in my step from the message of the play and mostly just because of the time I got to spend with good friends.