Katie's Essay: Why Fringe?

Posted from Katie Ball's Facebook Note, Why Fringe?
One of the best things about Fringe is that it's a big old soup pot of all kinds of people, both on stage and off. You get to see Joe Banker and Deena Drag bonding at the beer tent – only to learn seconds later that they've been going at it for years. Oh yeah and there's also some pretty spectacular theater and dance going on...

But it's the whole ball of wax that intrigues me – the Beast, if you will. Fringe is one huge experience comprised of an infinite number of smaller experiences. It's the vibe of the thing, both the tangible and intangible goodness - with the “down-time” between shows offering some of the best performances to be had. And if you think you aren't an honorary member of cast, crew and staff then think again. Whether a patron, performer, beer drinker, Fab lawn loafer (or most likely all of the above) – no matter where you're standing, sitting or yes laying down, it's ALL interactive theater...

He said/she said meets “Oh my God, did you see what just happened?” - joined by newly empowered voices pimping their favorites, “You've got to go see this - yeah I know the review was shitty, just go see it.” Just as you, the possible introvert, look back in line to offer without prompting, “They're out of fries but making a run – check out the summer rolls next door, they're awesome.”

Having grown up in theater what surprises me most is Fringe's pervading sense of celebration and camaraderie; Yes, hearts will be broken, some creative alliances will be sealed just as others are severed. You'll see someone for the hundredth time who may very well look right through you, just as you - in your post Soul-Food Coma - unknowingly do the same to another. You will laugh harder than you thought possible, you will learn, you will grow, you will most likely cry, you will make a difference, you will give of yourself and you will hopefully accept the gifts of energy and effort in return. You will receive food for thought, food for the belly, food for the soul. For the next 11 days you will be more human – the good parts.

Like if the kids behind the bleachers joined forces with band camp and found out they had a lot more in common than not, there's something for everyone – all ages, all walks of life. How many other festivals can claim that honor?

And yeah I know this screams of Ra-Ra Fringe but I can't help it, because every year my chest puffs up with pride that the girl is still chugging along. The Dude abides...

Katie Ball is a local public radio personality, and author of Any Cool Music?
Public Radio Producer
www.radiokuralt.com - www.wmfe.org/storycorps - www.prx.org/user/radiokuralt - www.stateofthereunion.com

Published locally in the Orlando Sentinel, Orlando Weekly. Clients include Crealde School of Art, The City of Orlando, Orange County Government.

Published Nationally in Atomic Ranch Magazine. - Band photography featured on 5 cds.

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