Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Thoughts on The Fringe:

When I lived in Minneapolis, an actor who became a great friend finally let me in on his story. He had been in and out of prison throughout the 1950’s, and not until he saw "Waiting for Godot" at San Quentin did he find any sense in the world. Suddenly, he knew that there were others who knew what waiting meant. There were others willing to explore the only thing he had known, in a way he had never imagined. He started reading plays, started performing them in prison, and eventually, with his release began his life as an actor. Through art he discovered himself as an artist.

Artists speak because they must. Underlying their art is an impassioned rejection of complacency and an unspoken realization that to be vulnerable is paradoxically to be strong. This is why I love The Fringe. The passion and the drive is evident; spoken in a new voice, often in a way we never could have imagined.

What is Fringe Theater? To define a genre like Fringe Theater seems to place inappropriate constraints on a form aimed at diversification. To define is to have power over. Definitions lead to rules. Rules create boundaries. Boundaries restrict freedom. And to allow any individual voice to bear the authority of definition allows that voice a power which no other individual or the Fringe community as a whole could equal. So this is not an attempt at definition, but rather an attempt to realize a calling some of us in The Fringe seem to feel.

4:35 AM