I don’t know how many people actually read this blog in Toronto, and further how many of them would go to Fringe. I Love Fringe. Fringe is a hash mash of (literally) hat-drawn plays, going on about 12 hours a day for 12 days. 155 plays. Amazing.
Given the lottery nature of Fringe festivals, you don’t always see good things, or you see things that are fantastic, or you see things that are entertaining that you forget the next day. I’ve already seen examples of all of these in the last 48 hours.
I saw Tinfoil Dinosaur today. I barely made it in time. I went because the actor’s blurb in the guide mentions that he has an anxiety disorder, and the play touches on that: naturally, I was interested.
It’s a one-man show by a man named Sam Mullins, who hails from British Columbia. If all people in BC are as earnest and engaging as Sam, I want to go there.
The story consists of Sam’s life (forgive me for not calling him “Mullins” – while there might be some missing respect in the last name honorific, his story and his acting made him “Sam” to me) just after he graduates from acting school, and attempts to move into being a professional, and the, well, adventures, disasters and confusion that follow.
I say “story” as the show is storytelling. It is Sam speaking to us, animated, endearing, heart-rendingly raw and open. My major criticism of the show was frequent ums and uhs spattering his speech, leaving it feeling a bit less practiced or professional – less staged at least. But on the other hand, I believe that a solidly scripted version of this work would lack the same feeling of being in the room with a long unseen friend.
I cried. I cried not at the moments of despair (which were brief, well spoken and brave), but the times following, the rebirth into a chance at life again. I cried because it was so clear how he felt, felt, felt what had happened and how it had changed him and helped him live. I cried because he related with perfect clarity the feeling of happiness, after long stretches of misunderstanding and clouds – an alien happiness, a surprise, a myth, a sparkler, and most certainly a butterfly, quietly landing with soft feet, and tickling you to the point of helpless giggles and tears.
I lurked after the show to shake his hand, and just to say thank you (I hope that didn’t come across as creepy, I really do, I just – well, crying and trying not to cry, and knowing I was late, I still just had to say, You touched me, and – and I know this feeling, these feelings, and thank you for knowing it too.).
I obviously have an emotional connection to this show, but here is a list of those who would really, really like it:
Recent graduates, particularly those turned waiter/ess, wondering how to get out of the only job keeping you fed.
Family. Parents. Long lost lovers.
Anyone who has lost their connection, to others, to themselves, to what they wanted. Anyone who has lost sight of the How and the Why.
Theatre lovers, and theatre workers, who have horror stories of their own.
And anyone who loves genuine laughter.
Fringe listing, for dates and times. (Or if you’re lazy, the Solo Room, @ Tarragon Theatre, at various times July 4th-15th, 2012. $10 tickets – no seriously, $10. Cheaper than Brave. Cheaper than the Avengers. Cheaper than the TTC return trip for you and your date.)