Wednesday, August 3, 2016

EdFringe, Here We Come!

About the time this post hits goes live, Wendi and I will be settling into our first show at this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Since this is our third EdFringe, you'd think we'd be pros by now at figuring out our schedules. And there are some theater companies/performers from years past whom we are seeking out. But with nearly 100 pages of theater offerings to choose from, the selection process continues to be daunting.  Here are a few of the shows I'm most looking forward to seeing.

Paines Plough, the UK's national theater of new plays, has consistently offered strong productions at EdFringe.And so there was no question that this year's line-up would be in our schedule. I'm most looking forward to "Growth" by up-and-coming UK playwright Luke Norris. As you might have gleaned by the promo, it's the story of a guy who had to have one of his balls cut off. (There's really no delicate way to say it.) While it sounds kind of grim, Paines Plough is a master at dealing with serious subjects with humor. I'm expecting it to be entertaining while raising some real issues.

The offerings at the Traverse, Scotland's new writing theater, were also a priority when working our calendar. Last year's shows at the Traverse were some of the most intense and dark theater we saw. And while I do love a good drama, I'm happy to see that this year's schedule includes a mix of comedy, drama and music, with a good amount of technology mixed in.

"In Fidelity"

I have high hopes for Rob Drummond's "In Fidelity." The Traverse program says of the show, "Part TED Talk, part theatrical experiment, In Fidelity combines evolutionary theory and a live onstage date." (Intriguing, right?) As research for his show, Drummond had an MRI of his brain and discovered that his ventromedial prefrontal cortex surged when looking at both pictures of his wife (good) and other pictures (potentially not so good). I can't wait to see how he's woven this information into his multi-media presentation.  

We couldn't resist a show that comes with a warning of "total blackouts, adult themes and scenes of a violent nature." "Cut" by Duncan Graham tells the story of a woman who, when pursued by a man, becomes both the hunter and the hunted. The description promises, "Part installation, part theatre poem, part noir thriller, prepare to be sealed into this intimate and unforgettable experience."  I am also preparing myself for things that go bump in the night. 

"One Hundred Homes"

"One Hundred Homes" is the type of theater I only see in Edinburgh. Yinka Kuitenbrouwer visited over 100 people and talked with them about their idea of "home." With the help of snapshots, quotes and biscuits (which I hope she shares), she will piece together a story based on these interviews. And here's the unique part -- the show will take place in a small wooden cabin built specifically for the occasion. 


One of the fun things about EdFringe is its variety. While Wendi and I focus primarily on theater, we do sprinkle some improv, music, circus, and dance into our schedule. This year our final booked show is Joli Vyann's "Imbalance."  It's an acrobatic dance piece that explores the impact of technology on our lives. Thanks to YouTube, we could check out what the show looks like before booking it.  (Click here to see a clip of the performance.)  It looks like a wonderful way to end this year's EdFringe experience.


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