fringe nyc 2009

Just wanted to give a quick big up to the New York International Fringe Festival. I’ve seen 15 solo shows in Fringe NYC this year. I think it’s my way of coping with not being able to to go to Edinburgh. In the past, I’ve scouted for the soloNOVA Arts Festival at the Fringe NYC, but I’ve never seen so many in one year. Generally a mixed bag (as are most fringe festivals around the world), this year’s Fringe NYC solo shows have been good to very good on the whole. It’s exciting for me, as a curator of solo shows, to see so many people attending. I have been to multiple sold out performances for solo shows, and it encourages me that there is an audience out there.

Moreover, the old misnomer that every solo show is about the author and therapy on one’s own life has generally been disproved. I’ve seen puppets, stand-up, music and character pieces, and out of the 15, I’d say 2 were great, 3 were bad and the other 10 pretty entertaining. I’m very happy, too, to see Time Out NY and NYTheatre.com reviewing all 201 shows in this year’s festival. While it may not be the most scientific way of reviewing such a behemoth, it’s gotten the word out in a great way. I’m certain these reviews helped bring in audience to shows (especially out-of-towners) that deserved to be seen.

Looking forward to the final 3 shows – 2 of which I’m off to right…now!

long haul

soloNOVA’s coming to a close, and it’s been a looooong haul this year. It’s more than we’ve ever done (almost 5 full weeks of programming). We’ve produced more shows than ever before – 60, when all’s said and done (including the Breakthrough Performer week with Martin Dockery next week), as opposed to 32 shows last year. We’re in residence at one of the most wonderful places you could reside – the DR2 Theatre and D-Lounge. So many publications have given us great reviews. From The New York Times to NYTheatre.com, there has been great praise for the festival’s participants. And Mike Daisey opened the festival with a rousing speech on “Why Solo Performance Matters.”

The other day, someone was asking me how the festival is going, and I said to them, “You know some days you have 20 people in the house, and the next day you have 80. It’s like life – you can freak out and beat your chest on the bad days and cheer the good days, but in the end…all I want to be able to do is say, ‘I’m proud of what I did.’ That’s how I feel about the festival. We’ve had downs, but we’ve certainly had more ups.”

It means so much that so many people are excited about what terraNOVA does. I know there’s still those out there who aren’t on the solo band wagon. And that’s fine, for it’s not for everybody. However, when the craft of solo performance is done well – and I have to say how well I think it was done this year – there’s nothing like it.

Many blessings…and if anyone’s reading this before we close on Saturday, come through and check it out. Or, come and see Martin next weekend. They’re great shows, and I’m not just saying that because I’m producing them. I’m very proud.