Sunday, November 23, 2008

Guest Review: Indy Fringe

Guest Review:
Indianapolis Fringe Festival
By Guest Reviewer:
Zehra Fazal

Guest Festival Ranking: 4.5 bow ties our of 5.

Mr. Fringey’s Description: Thomas the Train goes to the big city and gets molested by Amtrack.

Sunny-side: (3 reason why this fringe is da bomb)
1. All the venues are located along 5-6 blocks of
Massachusetts Avenue, making getting from venue to venue really easy.

2. The Fringe Office staff headed by Executive Director Pauline Moffat make great efforts to make performers feel welcome, including providing free lodging to out of town artists.

3. Because everything is so localized, you find yourself running into other performers, volunteers and technicians constantly, creating a "theatre summer camp" atmosphere.

The Flip Side: (3 reasons this fringe sucks or what makes it difficult) 1. Though it's progressing, Indianapolis doesn't have a huge theatre going community, because it is a smaller city in the Midwest. You have to market fairly hard to get people out.

2. The Fringe is centered around Mass Ave--if you want to go beyond that into Indianapolis or surrounding areas, a car is necessary.

3. This particular year, comedy, variety and magic acts comprised most of the programming. Most audiences went in looking for a laugh--making it a harder sell for straight theatre.

How big of a money sock do you need here, based on food prices, and other expenses? (Choose one: A tiny sock, a men's tube sock, a full blown stocking)
A nylon footie--food and drink is relatively cheap in Indy. There's a supermarket near the Fringe so it makes it easier to prepare food at home. Lodging for out of town performers is free, so you save massively there.

How to Fill Your Seats:
What's the best way to fill your seats here marketing-wise?
There are publications in Indy that try to get to most of the shows on opening weekend, ensuring reviews by mid-Festival. These early features and reviews are the best way to generate buzz--and there is a fairly active blogging scene here. Flyering at local business and after shows is key.

Payment: You get 100 percent of the door. You walk out of the venue with an envelope each night full of the money received at the box office.

Showcase: Yes, there is an opening night preview party--variety style, where groups are selected at random and are given three minutes to perform material from their show before being given the GONG. It's an exciting, high-energy presentation with a fairly nice turnout.

Fringe central: Yes, there is a central office, as well as a tent set up on the weekends for music acts and performers to preview their shows.

Venue Location: All venues are close and within walking distance with the exception of some of the find your own venue/Fringe Next programming.

Travel-in: Flew into Indianapolis Int'l Airport. From there it's about a $30 cab ride to downtown Mass Ave. There is a $7 bus from the airport that drops off at several locations in downtown Indy, and from there it's a 25-30 minute walk to Mass Ave. There are apparently cheaper shuttle options than a taxi, but I used the bus.

Billeting: Yes! Pauline, the Executive Director of the festival, coordinated housing, and found me a spot to stay where I'd feel safe walking alone at night. I was housed with an extremely nice and gracious volunteer, who had two extra rooms to spare for festival artists. It was a three-minute walk away from my venue!

Fringe Specs:
Age in Fringe Years: The well-behaved 5 year old with a vocabulary that will make you fall in love with him (ignore the lisp and the hair lip that was corrected during bohemian infant surgery.

Festival Dates: August 21 – 30, 2009

Application Deadline: January 30, 2009

And: Part of CAFF - 6 performance slots per entry - 45-60 minute shows with 30 minutes load in/load out.

Applying: Snail mail application.

Festival Cost: $450

Ticket Prices: 10 bucks. Performers see shows for free.

About Mr. Fringy's Guest Reviewer: Zehra Fazal

Mr. Fringey’s tag: It’s no wonder so many Jews are bisexual. I really think the Jews knew, way back when, that Hitler was this talented, this sexy, and this damn charming.

Check her out at: or

What categories does your show fall under?
Solo-performance, drama, adaptation

How long have you been fringing?
This is my second summer of Fringing

How many fringes do you do each year?
I did the DC fringe last summer, and two this summer (Indy and San Fran)

What has been your favorite fringe?
As an out of towner, I really enjoyed IndyFringe for cultivating that "fringey" community spirit.

What has been your biggest money making fringe?
Washington, DC
--as a local actor to the area, it was easier to market and get audiences/resources there. Plus, ticket prices are $15--higher end among the Fringe circuit.

What fringe did you make your most important contact?
Well, this remains to be seen...but as a local of DC, I had the opportunity to showcase my work to a lot of the local directors/performers I want to work with in the area.

In one word, why do you fringe?
To make an opportunity for myself to perform in a way I wouldn't necessarily be able to in the mainstream, commercial world of theatre. Oops, that's not one word. I fringe because...ADVENTURE!

What's the name of the show (s) you are fringing this year?
My Friend Hitler

1 comment:

Carolyn Stearns Storyteller-Announcer said...

You can add Portsmouth New Hampshire to your list I am booked to that one this year. It was new last year and I was booked but ended up with a high fever and couldnt make it.
Linda Palmer -Seacoast Fringe Festival October 7,8,9,10