Greece 2024 Travelogue!

In which the Winnipeg Fringe Festival is about to begin…

It’s almost Fringe time… A few days from now the area surrounding Winnipeg’s Old Market Square will be filled with Venue desks, theatregoers and food trucks. 12 straight days of theatre goodness for increasingly not low prices await the citizens of Winnipeg who haven’t fled to cottages or holidays. The program this year looks passable, though not quite as good as recent years to my mind.

There seems to be a surplus of “OMG GAY” and “OMG FEMINIST” crap plays this year, though of course it’s hard to make a judgement based just on the program description (though I fully expect to see that first impression justified by eventual reviews.) It makes me curious though, who wants to watch this crap? None of my gay friends want to have anything to do with these incredibly stereotypical pieces of “art.” As one friend put it… “Why on earth would I want to waste an hour watching someone camp up their queen side to sell tickets to middle aged women.”

Perhaps it’s just that older housewife/soccer mom demo who see soaking up a bit of “gay culture” (even though it’s nothing of the sort) as something naughty that spices up their day. It would certainly explain how Steven and Chris have gotten renewed for another year. My opinion? If you want to see a good play about gay issues go see something like “Bash’d” from last year that is both a funny play about gay culture and also addresses important issues.

As for the “feminist” plays, ok, we get it, not enough plays are written about women’s issues, I totally agree. Don’t you think that rather than simply making play after play that’s ranting about it without any other quality to the (what can only loosely be termed) play you should maybe just write a genuine funny or dramatic play that approaches and discusses women’s issues? If you want to preach to the choir by ranting to a small crowd of people perhaps get into stand-up instead? I sometimes wonder if some of these acts are simply “I ran out of time to write my actual play and the program deadline is in a few days” moments.

In other “shitty premise” news… someone is doing a Napoleon Dynamite themed play. Really? I mean honestly? You don’t think you missed the boat on that one bud? I may be in the minority as I despised the movie except for the inclusion of the awesome Tina Majorino.

In happier news:

Old favourites Sound and Fury are back again with a Sherlock Holmes spoof that’s sure to be awesome. They’re also in the comparatively huge Gas Station this year after having been stuck in Cinematheque last time. For a group that solidly filled warehouse on a regular basis in their previous appearances I’m not sure what the schedulers were thinking last year shoving them into that tiny venue (especially given some of the crap that played to empty houses at the bigger venues.)

Speaking of Cinematheque they are apparently not a venue this year but are instead showing a regular schedule during the fringe. I’d question the wisdom of this except for the fact that the second Friday of the fest they’re showing “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” complete with a serving of Mead, delicious!

T.J. Dawe is back again (or perhaps not back since he now lives here) and will no doubt be performing to packed houses from day one. Here’s hoping they give him a big venue with a small stage since it’s ideal for him and shitty for a lot of people who get assigned them. I hope I get to see him this year, but getting into his shows without an advance ticket is such a PITA and I prefer to get about with my Buddy Pass.

Chris Craddock is giving Winnipeggers a second chance to see pornStar, which was a hit back in 2005. Here’s hoping I get to see it this time, Craddock is quickly becoming my favourite of the new crop of Fringe playwrights.

Screwed and Clued is back for the first time in a while, I haven’t yet heard who’s in the actual cast for this one but hopefully it’s a continuation of the funny we’ve seen in past years. Also returning are perennial improv artists ImproVision who hopefully have a better venue this year as well.

Yours truly is going to try to enjoy the festival despite the never ending rain of shit that has been falling on him this summer. I’m dedicating my fringing this year to the memory of my grandmother who first introduced me to the festival and who passed away last fall.