Fringe Festivals are a great way to introduce someone to live theatre because there’s something for everyone. At a Fringe there are family friendly shows, x-rated shows, traditional plays, slam poetry, physical theatre, music and improvisation. And because there’s something for everyone why not grab a friend or your husband, or wife, or lover or any combination of the preceding and head down to the Calgary Fringe and check out some of the great shows currently being offered at this year’s festival.
And if you go and you see a show you love – a show that made you laugh or cry or think then help spread the word. Tell your friends. Tell your enemies. Tell the world through your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snap Chat account. Artists rely on word of mouth to fill their shows and in today’s world with so many other things competing for our attention and money it helps when you let your social network know about a show worth seeing.
So, I’m going to do just that. I’m going to recommend five shows that I’ve seen so far at this year’s fringe. That doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other shows worth seeing. In fact, check out the complete Calgary Fringe lineup because there’s still plenty of time to head down to Inglewood and catch a show or two or twenty before the festival ends on Saturday.
Timothy Mooney’s one hour adaptation of Hamlet by William Shakespeare breathes fresh life and excitement into the epic tale. If you love Game of Thrones or House of Cards the political intrigue, thirst for power, and ever rising body count in Hamlet make this your show. Filled with Shakespeare’s insights about mortality and death and the nature of life Mooney has compressed all the action into a single hour. A single hour that flies by powered by the energetic and riveting performance of Mooney as he plays narrator and leaps between the various players in a single breath all the time rushing towards the final and bloody end. Breakneck Hamlet is must see theatre.
- Playwright: Timothy Mooney, Director Tim Mooney, Cast Tim Mooney
- Rating: General Audience (Age 10+, Audience Participation, Educational Topics, Solo Performance, Violence
Remaining Dates for the Calgary Fringe @ Lantern Church Fellowship Hall
- Saturday August 6th @ 11:00 am – Best of Fest Performance
- Saturday August 6th @ 5:00 pm
A great story teller not only works his magic with words but with how he says those words and how he commands the stage and Rob Gee is a marvel both in performance and in writing. And even thought Rob performs his shows at breakneck speed he never leaves us behind – we get the jokes – we see the connections – we follow the story. Icarus tells the tale of a psychiatric patient, a little girl, her father, her rather notorious – not in a good way grandmother – and a flight to freedom that doesn’t go as planned but ends up making the world a little bit better for a little girl and her dad. Icarus is fast paced fun that makes you believe, that in this crazy world, good things can happen.
- Playwright: Rob Gee, Director: Tara Gatherer, Cast: Rob Gee
- Rating: Restricted – Minors Not Allowed (Age 16+, Solo Performance, Adult Language)
Remaining Dates for the 2016 Calgary Fringe @ Lolita’s Lounge
- Friday August 5th @ 6:30 pm
- Saturday August 6th @ 6:30 pm
We’re all searching for our place in the world. We’re all trying to find our tribe, the work we were meant to do and the person we were meant to be with. That’s not easy. But sometimes circumstances lead us to those things without us even realizing it. P.S. 69 A Teacher Grows in Brooklyn by Susan Jeremy is such a tale told in a one woman show with twenty-four different characters. There’s the acerbic teachers, the wild kids, and the got-it-together best friend who provides well meaning but horrible advice. Jeremy takes on the vocal mannerisms and physical appearance of all the characters moving seamlessly between them as they interact on stage. The story is told with humour and tenderness and shows you that sometimes life has a way of working out for the best.
- Playwright: Mary Fulham and Susan Jeremy, Director: Mary Fulham, Cast: Susan Jeremy
- Rating: General Audience (Age 12+, Educational Topics, Solo Performance)
Remaining Dates for the 2016 Calgary Fringe @ Lantern Church Sanctuary
- Saturday August 6th @ 3:30 pm
- Saturday August 6th @ 6:30 pm – Best of Fest Performance
I love it when a performer starts a show before the curtain rises. And in Keara Barnes Almost a Step Mom she enters stage a few minutes before the show in character and starts to flirt and interact with the audience. This is our first glimpse of the ex. And her interactions with the audience set the tone for the entire show. Once the play begins we learn that Keara traveled to Ireland and fell in love with Joe. Joe has a little girl named Keara and Keara’s mother isn’t very pleased about Joe and his new girlfriend and she’s not afraid to let her displeasure be known. Things escalate…and in the end…well the show isn’t called Almost a Step Mom without reason. Keara Barnes is a powerful performer and she has an engaging and easy manner as she slips between the different characters in the story. Almost a Step Mom is a powerful look at a life that could have been. It’s also a show that you don’t want to miss.
- Playwright: Keara Barnes, Director: Michael David Stewart, Cast: Keara Barnes
- Rating: Mature Content (Age 14+, Solo Performance, Adult Language)
Remaining Dates for the 2016 Calgary Fringe @ Lantern Church Fellowship Hall
- Friday August 5th @ 8:00 pm
- Saturday August 6th @ 2:00 pm
This is a show everyone will love regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or political affiliation. Ice cream and fireworks are probably the only other things with such universal appeal. Camilo the Magician is a master of illusion. From card tricks to mind reading he moves from one illusion to the next always adding a twist or an extra payoff to the trick he’s performing. Plus Camilo has such an easy, engaging, and personal style that you feel more like you’re enjoying a magic show in your own home than in a theatre filled with a hundred new friends. A great family pick that was everything I hoped it would be: magical, funny and mind bending – highly recommended.
- Playwright: Camilo Dominguez, Director: Camilo Dominguez, Cast: Camilo Dominguez
- Rating: General Audience (Age 10+, Audience Participation, Educational Topics, For/By Teens)
Remaining Dates for the 2016 Calgary Fringe @Inglewood Lawn Bowling Club
- Friday August 5th @ 8:15 pm
- Saturday August 6th @ 3:15 pm
- Saturday August 6th @ 8:15 pm
Opportunities for playwrights
I regularly scour the internet for submission opportunities and over the last couple of years I’ve assembled a growing list of festivals that offer a variety of opportunities for established and emerging playwrights. I’ve listed a couple of those playwriting opportunities below. Check them out and enter if you have something or make note for next year.
Women Playwright’s Initiative at the Ivoryton Playhouse
- Deadline: September 15, 2016
- Submission Fee: None Listed
- Type: One Act Plays no longer than 60 minutes
- Restrictions: Women Playwrights
- Award: The Women Playwright’s Initiative will provide a safe, nurturing environment for play development. The initiative is intended to culminate in a reading/workshop festival.
- Note: The Initiative seeks to develop new plays by and about women, and the issues that shape their lives. Friendship, political and economic advocacy, sexual satisfaction, aging, gender equality, racial issues, marriage, singlehood, motherhood, careers, and power.
- Interested playwrights should submit a hard copy and email version (for musicals include a script and CD, and email version with audio link), bio/resume, including a telephone number and email address.
- For complete submission details refer to the Women Playwright’s Initiative at the Ivoryton Playhouse web site.
American Association of Community Theatres
- Deadline: September 30, 2016
- Submission Fee: No fee for AACT member playwrights; $10.00 script processing fee for non members
- Type: Full length non-musical, full-lenth plays
- Restrictions: One script per playwright. Scripts must be unpublished and must not have received a full production. (If selected, the AACT theatre’s production is to be a world premiere.) No translations or adaptations of previously published works.
- Award: The top five or six winning plays will be produced by American community theatres between July 2017 and December 2018. Producing theatres have committed to a production of at least three performances with full production values. In addition to the production, the theatre will pay a royalty of $25 per performance. Submission of a script includes acceptance of production, if selected.
- AACT has contracted with Dramatic Publishing Company to publish an anthology of the winning plays. Submission of a script includes acceptance to be published in the anthology. Read the contract all playwrights are required to sign if you want to enter.
- Note: No limit on the number of characters. No restrictions on subject matter (Although excessive offensive language, sex, or violence might limit the play’s appeal for some community theatres). Scripts must be written in English and be between 60 to 120 pages in standard play format. Playwrights are expected to follow the AACT NewPlayFest Script Formatting Guidelines. Guidelines are available on the web site.
- Before submitting read the contract all playwrights entering the festival are required to sign.
- For complete submission details refer to the American Association of Community Theatre Call for Scripts – 2018 web page.
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