The 2014 Island Fringe Festival is here with 8 awesome shows by local and international performers in some great Downtown Venues. Here’s are some reviews from the Opening Night…
Bra-vo A Review of Laura K. Bird’s “Busted” by PL Holden
Along with a hypnotic soundtrack & projections of old pictures at a full house at Marc’s Lounge, Laura K. Bird shares some childhood recollections about dreams of ending up with big breasts.
Getting the invite to review this show made me debate whether I should opt out since I was guessing I’d feel a little out of place. As a man, I have to admit the topic of this show made me wonder if I’d be comfortable sitting through a discourse normally reserved for a woman to woman conversation. Fortunately, I wasn’t the only guy there & I didn’t end up feeling embarrassed by the subject matter either.
In a chronological bra-nologue, the audience was given an honest, straight out, unabridged recital about the trials and tribulations of having breasts from teens to adulthood to motherhood & beyond. Laura proudly shared the laughs and heartaches of issues like how it feels to be developing faster than the others at school, being stared at by older men & some first-hand disclosures about bra shopping.
I was speaking with Director Kimberley Johnston after the show about how it is so impressive that Laura can reel off such a personal monologue to a room full of people she mostly doesn’t know and on top of that, deliver it in a profoundly funny & expressive way! Busted really makes the audience think (especially the men in particular I suspect) about how women feel about being objectified so much in the media and helps dispel the myth that women with large breasts are to be envied.
Gerard Harris Runs the Show At “Verbal Diarrhea”
In a delightfully unique British accent Gerard Harris gives a very funny intro at Merchant Man Next Door about the ground rules on what he is about to deliver. It was apparent that we were about to witness a rhetorical cocktail of the pro’s & con’s of diarrhea with the art of story telling.
Verbal Diarrhea, much like Busted was a shameless recount of childhood. It may seem that this one is geared towards an all-male audience looking for some immature, push the envelope stand-up grossness, but surprisingly the audience was mostly female & the subject matter was, although immature at times, relatable to both sexes and not (although including profanity) offensive to the point of making anyone seem uncomfortable.
Besides that fact that Gerard has seen much more of the world than I, it was easy for me to relate to a lot of his situations including his search for inner peace, starting over in his mid-thirties after a divorce, and a love of writing. A rough entrance to the world, an underdog from day 1, he’s seen some big heights & walked some low valleys for sure. There are some deep thoughts from the silly to the serendipitous & deeply personal matters that would be difficult for anyone to share in public.
I learned much about how to weave a narrative from the heart of a true storyteller with a rawness that goes largely unseen. Believe it or not, this is a Fringe performance you can definitely take a date to. Gerard Harris is a class act & we’re pretty lucky to have him performing in Charlottetown 3 more times this weekend! Check out his blog at http://gerardharrisdotcomistaken.com/
I had the pleasure of seeing In the Telling at Rochford Square & although time didn’t allow me to write a full review, in a nutshell it was magically delicious outdoor theatre with Sorcery, Spirits, & Song in a Shakespearean style by a very talented 4 woman troupe called Vile Passéist Theatre. I’m forward to seeing In Denial at The Island Dance Academy written & performed by Rachel Resnik. There are a few other ones out there to check out called Celtic Feet, Happy, The Art of Posing, & Allly & Emma. Here’s the schedule link… http://www.islandfringe.com/ Check some performances out & Enjoy!
Letting Out Scribbling Skeletons: The Island Fringe Festival Opener by Cindy Lapeña
What was supposed to be a 2-hour evening stretched out to nearly 3 full hours as an appreciative audience applauded one reader after another at the opening show for the 2014 Island Fringe Festival. Marc’s Lounge on Sydney St. was filled to bursting by the time the show began. True to its advertising, Scribbler Skeletons brought forth some well-preserved diaries, scribblers, and school papers that selected Islanders and Island Fringers had unearthed from the closets where they kept their skeletons. The audience was regaled with a couple of ‘Dear Diary’ running stories of unrequited love, several sophomoric poems, amusing journal entries, and quite a few school writing assignments.
If I enjoyed the evening and found so much of it entertaining and priceless, I can only imagine how much more hysterically funny it was to those who grew up with the readers, knew them personally, or had seen them growing up. As a teacher, I wonder how many of my students have kept all their journals, how many kept diaries, and how many more dabbled in out-of-class writing that they have preserved.
I must congratulate the Island Fringe Team, of whom three-fourths (unless I didn’t quite hear the fourth one, in which case I owe apologies to her) also shared some sophomoric writing that was very well-received: Festival Director Sarah Segal-Lazar, Festival Coordinator Megan Stewart, Volunteer Coordinator Andy Reddin, and Assistant Volunteer Coordinator Emma Russell Louder. I’m looking forward to attending another one (or two, or more!) by the time this weekend is over.
I know that, at quite a few points in my life, I was so sure I did not want any of my earlier scribblings ever to surface later in life because they already embarrassed me then–what more when I was grown up and quite possibly famous (which has always been a dream and still is)? That brought about a moment when (horror of horrors!) I burnt two full notebooks (not just your 30-leaf scribblers, mind you, but those thick 100-leaf red-and-blue lined notebooks) of poetry I had written until I was 10 years old. I had locked myself in the bathroom with a box of matches to complete the dastardly deed. Another time saw me methodically and meticulously shredding to bits (by hand, mind you) my grade school diaries–or at least those pages that had entries in them. I thought that they could still be put to good use because the entries were so sporadic and some quite far between. I might have completely obliterated a few other incriminating pieces of evidence that would, I’m sure, bring about a lot of cringing and embarrassing laughter–mostly from myself–if any of it got out. I’m certain there are some things I can still dredge up somewhere–I’ve kept most of my poetry since 7th grade–that will be amusingly entertaining if not worthy of a few laughs at next year’s Island Fringe Festival!