You Wanna Sit Where?

27 08 2010

Christel Bartelse in Oneymoon (foto by David Bukach)

Top tips for a Finer Fringe

Veteran Fringers likely already have a game plan and know the festival ropes, but if you’re relatively new to the whole Fringe scene, here’s a few handy tips to help make it a better experience for everyone.

• Plan ahead. Take the time to peruse the schedule and do your best to plan which shows you want to see when. It’s always better to see productions by A-listers like Jem Rolls and TJ Dawe the first week, when the line-ups are shorter.

• Dress in layers. If the wind is up, it can be bloody chilly standing in line, but boiling hot once you get into the venue. Dressing in layers gives you the option of not needing to strip naked to cool down, and unintentionally becoming part of the show. (Unless it’s The Human Body Project, in which case your nudity may be appropriate.)

• Pee before the show. Really—if you have to leave during a show, you won’t get back in. And it’ll give you something to do while you’re waiting in line.

• Take a water bottle. There’s not always a cafe or store handy, especially later at night.

• Take a snack. Depending on how many shows you’re going to, you might need the staying power. Just don’t open it during the show, especially if it’s crunchy or comes in a crinkly wrapper.

• Take a small pillow. Some of those chairs are killers, and if you’re seeing multiple shows in a single day, your lower back will love you for it.

• Take a pen. At some point, someone will recommend a show to you and it’s always easier to make a note right there than try to remember it later.

• Take something to read. If you’re Fringing solo,  it’s always good to be able to pass the time somehow: a book, a comic, a magazine, whatever—we suggest a copy of Monday Magazine, of course.

• Go high tech. For those technologically inclined, check out the snazzy iPhone Fringe app. And be sure to take the Fringe survey on the way-more-snappy iPad . . . especially if you haven’t used one yet.

• Spread the word. Tell your friends about great shows (just not during the show, of course, as texting during a production is a definite no-no), talk to strangers in line-ups about what you’ve seen, or want to see.

• Get on your bike. Most Fringe venues are within a short cycling distance of each other,  and it’s way easier to park a bike than it is a car—especially if you’re in a hurry. And Intrepid has introduced increased bike parking at key venues this year as part of a greener Fringe.

• Think about where you want to sit. If you’re freaked out by audience participation, don’t sit in the front row. Some venues have risers, which can afford a view above the crowds. If you’re very short, sit close; if you’re very tall, sit at the back. And if you’re very weird, don’t sit by me.

• Have a back-up plan. Some shows sell out quickly; having another option already chosen for that time slot will help you avoid disappointment. Failing that, consider buying advance tickets; sure it costs a bit more, but you won’t have to worry about not getting in.

• Thank the volunteers. The Fringe couldn’t run without all the volunteers who help keep it all together, so be kind to them and say thanks. (And remember, it’s not their fault if you’ve forgotten your Fringe button.)

• Write your own review. Think all those critics are full of shit? Jump on The Craig and have your own say. (Critics, sheesh—what do they know, anyway?)

• Remember how it all works. All the money from ticket sales goes to the artists, while the money from your Fringe button goes to host company Intrepid Theatre . . . who definitely aren’t trying to stick it to you with extra costs.

• Blame the provincial government. Don’t like the fact that show tickets are slightly more expensive this year? Blame the BC Liberals, who introduced the HST and forced ticket prices up.

—John Threlfall



One response

27 08 2010
Kelly Hudson

Good Advice! I think I’m going to print this out and post it at my Venue.

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