Fringe festivals are do-it-yourself art events. The artist is invited to do much of the work involved in the event. The idea behind this is very old and democratic: if you want your work to be seen and heard by the public, then this is your opportunity. You just need to work for it.
Last weekend I took part in the theatrical part of the Buffalo Infringement Festival. I presented two short plays in the space of American Repertory Theatre of Western New York (ART of WNY). In this venture I acted as producer, director, props person, actor and writer (of one of the plays).
Shakespeare, who knew theatre, wrote that theatre disappears and “leaves not a rack behind.” In this he wrote of the extreme fragility of theatre. So much can go wrong. People can get sick or drop out of productions. Shows can be cancelled at the last minute.
But after taking some economic knocks, Buffalo seems like a new city. Its artistic scene is thriving, and many civic organizations and businesses are more than willing to share their venues with artists wishing to participate in the Infringement Festival. The city’s theatres are vigorous, and I was fortunate to have the generosity of Matthew LaChiusa, who runs ART of WNY.
I was also fortunate enough to have available, in Syracuse, the forum of Studio 24, run by Gerard Moses. Here we had developed the two plays we later showed in Buffalo. My play, UNCLE SERGEI, has had other productions. Rahshon Glover’s play, SHY INTERPRETER, was new, and had not been presented outside the studio. But this work, about the tensions between a father and son, was vital, and I was eager to have it presented before the public.
Above all, I was fortunate to have the work and dedication of my fellow actors, Susan Palmer Everly and Rahshon Glover.
Sometimes things work.