The first ever Hollywood Fringe Festival came to a close this past Sunday. 11 whole days of nonstop art, and the best thing that I’ve participated in all year. Festival Director Ben Hill said before I left on Sunday night that the Fringe was intended to be “a theatre person’s wet dream.” Non-stop [cheap] theatre, a huge community, and a party and drinks every night. Mission accomplished.
The theatre and art was, indeed, non-stop. Over the course of the 11 days of the festival, I saw 18 fringe performances. Plays, musicals, storytelling, one-man shows, stand up comedy, magic, clowning, and more. I also was able to attend 3 panel discussions. Oh, did I mention that I produced 2 shows and saw each of them 2 or 3 times? It was nice to have so much to do. So much to do that I wanted to do.
The community was the best part. Being a part of a company is great, but it’s so easy to lose track of the rest of the world and get caught in our own bubble. That’s not possible at the fringe. With 180 other productions being produced along side mine, I have no room for my own private bubble. My participation with the festival introduced me to several new people that I probably would never have met or interacted with otherwise, but I’m so glad I did. Connections and relationship were created and I plan to do everything I can to make sure they continue. I hate being in my own private bubble. The reason I do theatre is to connect: with the audience, with my fellow actors, and with — because of this festival — a whole lot of the local arts community.
The party every night was an added bonus, but this is where the previous two points meet. These get togethers were great times to meet the aforementioned new people, to learn about shows to go to, and to have fun with the people I had known or just met. Whether drinking, chatting, or dancing together, these connections at the parties were among the most valuable parts of the Hollywood Fringe Festival.
I’m very grateful to the Fringe staff for organizing such an amazing festival and introducing the Los Angeles art scene to itself. We performed and shared a lot of art, met a lot of people, and partied a whole lot more. This years festival is over. The shows have ended, but not their effect. Art exists only in the moment, but the new friendships formed can last forever.