Ads infiltrate fringe fest

July 24, 2008
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One of the core ideas behind most fringe theater festivals is that anyone can sign up to perform. If you get your application in early enough--and pay the nominal sign-up fee--your show is part of the event.

As demonstrated by the last few Indy Fringe festivals, that allows for a wide range of offerings, from the solidly professonal to the embarrassingly amateur and, semi-conversely, from the over-polished to the thrillingly fresh.

You can see for yourself when Indy Fringe runs here from Aug. 22-31 (For a full schedule, click here).

With the fringe open-door policy, it was only a matter of time before someone sullied things. At the granddaddy of such events, Scotland's Edinburgh Fringe Festival, a food manufacturer has created its own show to push a product. "Pot Noodle: the Musical" is part of this year's lineup.

A story here raises some interesting questions including: What if it's really good?

So are we only a few fringes away from "Long Day's Journey to Gander Mountain," "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Value City Suit" and "The Important of Being Ernest and Julio Gallo"?

And don't forget to check out this week's A&E previews at www.ibj.com/arts.
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  • Personally, I think there should be a better selection process for the Fringe. In my mind there are getting to be too many one man shows. The things I saw last year and liked the most were the actual plays with a cast and the improv groups. I don't yet know how I feel about the advertising part. I guess it depends. It's not something I would want to see on any regular basis at all. I think keeping a variety is key -
  • Advertising in shows ... why not! Movies have been doing it forever.
    IndyFringe exists to serve independent artists and to return l00% of the box office to them.
    Applications are accepted on a first come, first serve basis until the festival runs out of theatres.
    Shows are limited to one hour with a change-over time of 30 minutes between shows. Therefore, performers have to be clever about how they use that time and it really does dictate size of sets, number of cast members etc. Performers who tour the Canadian and US Fringe festival circuits have to travel light so they are usually one-man shows or up to three members otherwise it is just not economical for them. Spare a thought for international performers who travel thousands of miles to be in Indy. As we head into the fourth year, I think we will see a much more mature and balanced festival. Dance and drama vs cabaret and comedy, the box office will declare the winner!

    Pauline Moffat
    Executive Director
    Indy Fringe
  • [T]he box office will declare the winner! is exactly right.

    Whether we're talking about a show with advertising or we're debating
    professional vs. amateur(ish), my experience has been that Indy Fringe is the
    ultimate example of marketplace economics.

    Because the festival takes place over a ten-day period, word-of-mouth is huge
    for generating additional toward-the-end ticket sales. If a show is very ad-heavy
    and lame, then, even if audiences don't sniff that out ahead of time, the word-of-
    mouth will kick it to the curb before its second or third performance. If, however,
    the show is compelling, innovative, hilarious, scandalous or otherwise remarkable,
    even if it's an hour-long ode to General Motors, audiences will respond.

    Viva la Fringe! And, more important, viva la Word of Mouth!

    PS -- The Importance of Being Ernest and Julio Gallo? Heh.
  • Lou,
    As an IndyFringe volunteer who works for Gander Mountain (in the Distribution Center. Going on 8 years. Eight.Long.Years) you may have inspired me.
  • Jim,
    I look forward to seeing what you come up with...
    Lou

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