Day 6 was Tuesday, and it was a day that I did not have a show. Instead I went to see shows – four all together. Doing a Fringe is like getting a theatre education, seeing a vast range of stuff.
Day 7 was my Wednesday 5:15pm show – my worst time at the Saskatoon Fringe, so my smallest house. Plus my StarPhoenix review came out in print today, which doesn’t help. All it meant to me was that I had to pound the pavement and sell the show to people lined up to see other shows before mine, which I did. I pretty much do a little performance in describing the show to people, and get them laughing and seemingly intrigued by my animated presentation. When someone says they are still trying to figure out what they want to see, I say, “Keep in mind which performers are out there selling their shows.” I’m not the only performer doing it, of course. It’s part of the game of doing a Fringe.
I’ve also been lucky enough to have a super fan here named Marlene, who is also a Fringe volunteer. She has been running around telling everyone to come see my show. Some of my Saskatoon fans from over the years have been spreading the good word as well, and commenting on the online review. From what I have heard, there has been vastly different word-of-mouth on the street about “The Last Straight Man In Theatre.” Some people hate it, and some love it. I’m glad it causes such a reaction. I knew when I decided to tour how difficult it is – being away from home, being away from family & friends, living on the road, etc. I did not want to go on the road with a safe vanilla show. I didn’t see the point in doing that. There is certainly a place for shows like that, but it would be a waste of my time right now.
I have been encouraged by people who tell me on the street how much they enjoy the show. I am also encouraged as an actor/writer by the fact that a few other experimental/challenging shows are on the Fringe. I’m proud to have taken the route that I have. And I think and ponder the idea of doing another show, and wonder… Should I streamline/mainstream myself or just get weirder and weirder? Will becoming a more bizarre Canadian touring performer ever lead to the mainstream career in TV and film that I’ve always wanted? Or should I move to LA, get botox, and hang out in coffee shops all day? Ah, many options.
No show on Day 8, Thursday. Today, and today as in Friday, it is dark, cold, and rainy. It’s kind of strange. This doesn’t feel like summer at all. I learned that John Hughes died today. This was very sad news for me because “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is one of my all-time favorite movies, and I love a lot of his other work as well. Really, “The Breakfast Club” is a defining movie for my generation. I often wondered what had happened to John Hughes. Here was someone who was very prolific at one point and created some wonderful work that still sustains, but then disappeared. One article I read compared him to J. D. Salinger in that respect. I also read he took that time to spend more time with his family and work on his farm. I wonder how he was able to pull himself away from the money, but he probably had more than enough at that point.
Thursday night was Spoof Night, which I have participated in every time I’ve come to Saskatoon. Performers write down the name of their show, put it in a hat, and then pull out another piece of paper with another show’s title on it. Then they prepare a 3-5 minute spoof that is done later in the week, giving them a chance to actually see the show they are spoofing. It’s all in fun. My show was spoofed by Christel Bartelse of the show “Chaotica.” She happened to attend the one show where I had technical difficulties, so that became part of her spoof. As for me, I played a nurse in an old age home of puppets in Lana Schwarz’s show “Grandpa Sol and Grandma Rosie.” I was the only male performer to do drag this year (not full drag – I was wearing scrubs). A few years ago tons of guys did drag. The show went on from midnight to… I don’t even know. 3am, I think. I ended up going to bed after 5am, so it was my Night Out In Saskatoon. There are a few more chances for additional nights in the Green Room.
Well, I was lucky to get the schedule I did, although the weather sucks today. I have two more shows, both in prime time slots: 8:45pm Friday and Saturday.