Q: Have you performed in Chicago before? I am doing the fringe there...a bit nervous...especially as it is $10 "suggested donation" for tickets....and first year...any thoughts on the matter?
A: Well, you know how Mr. Fringey feels about fringes that are younger than three years old. They're usually a bust in terms of recouping your investment.
Unless there's a better reason to go than financial gain, you should usually look at a first year fringe as a total write off. This is true for a few different reasons.
First, fringe fans are a different breed than your typical run-of-the mill theatre goer. A fringe fan is used to seeing multiple shows in one night and multiple shows during the course of a festival. A typical theatre fan goes to see one show per month and then goes home until the next month. It takes a year or two (at the very least) to educate audience members on fringe etiquette.
However, there have been recent fringes that have broken rank with Mr. Fringey's First Year Fringe theory. The Capital Fringe was the first fringe to come along and do this and although all the data isn't in yet, the 1st Annual Hollywood Fringe may do the same.
Why? Both of these fringes gathered a lot of creative support from the artistic community and leveraged that into media exposure. The HF already has the support of LA Weekly and Backstage Magazine in an effort to review most of the shows. (Not bad for a FYF or first year fringe)
I would place my bets that Chicago has much of the same thing going for it that both Hollywood and Washington DC have. A large city, a passionate creative community and a theatre tribe that is aching to make their fringe a success. I'd place my bets that with your fringe savvy you'll do just fine. If you doubt it, read what the Chicago Fringe peeps wrote to me early on when they were sending out applications: Chicago Fringe Kicks Fringe Butt.
"Welcome to Fringe or Die. Home of Mr. Fringey, The Famous Fringe Festival Fact Facilitator and his Fellow Fringe Friends Full of Fresh Fringe Opinions. As you navigate through the information contained here-in, it might help to think of this site as your friendly bohemian courtship counselor, sent here by the International and National Fringe Theatre Festival Goddess to help ensure that your love of fringe performance leads to Fame, Riches, Adventure and lots of Fringe Karma Points."