This is the entry in our Fringe Binge journal for 2015 Capital Fringe
What’s a girl to do when she hits a piece of truck tire on 295 and misses the show she’s supposed to review?
Exactly what you’d think: have a drink at the Logan Fringe Arts Space since yours truly arrived there after the show’s doors closed. Then… whip up a review of the theatrical lobby cards. You know ’em- those large 5x7s (or 3x5s, depending on budget) postcards used to advertise shows. And if you so much as pause to peruse the card stand, various production members with puppydog eyes appear as if by magic to waggle them in front of your nose, trolling for you to become a customer. Actually, it’s kind of fun- in the hour I was there, I got to meet several cast members from different shows, and brought home a good handful of cards to look over later, out of the neon glare of the bar.
So why not give some pointers, on what cards catch the eye and what don’t, from a recipient’s point of view?
In the dim light of the venues, orange cards are good, dark blue cards all but invisible, and anything self printed, on paper rather than cardstock, looks cheesy rather than unselfconsciously hip. ‘I don’t care about promoting my Art’ ain’t the message one should send when trying to snag customers.
The very biggest and shiniest cards made me look for corporate sponsors; (didn’t see too many, hip hip hooray for independent shows); and the ones with fuzzy pictures gave me a headache (though that could have been the drink, I admit). And everyone, remember: you might be twenty, but a whole buncha Fringe patrons are older, with disposable income- and reading glasses. Ditch the tiny ten point font detailing the show from birth to opening night, and go for short, sweet, and readable big fonts.
Given the swarms of cards in the card stand, most cards are placed long side up. That means anything printed landscape style gets placed sideways, and the carefully designed message has to be read with a tilted head as though one is eating a taco. Most people won’t bother. Unless the card is bright orange. Or actually a taco.
If you get bored reading the cards, (and that could take a while, there are a bazillion shows at this year’s Fringe), take a gander at the patrons. The evening I went was a grand parade of folks. The Batala drummers, an all female drumming ensemble, milled about in kickass batik pants with kickass arm muscles to match. At the bar sat a fellow in a black and white splatter shirt worthy of the Eurythmics, wearing fancydance black and white spectator sport shoes and chatting up a girl whose entire ensemble, down to her high heels, seemed to be covered in sequins. I do not think either of them was in a show, by the way.
Smartypants that I am, I told a guy in a Game of Thrones t-shirt that no Lannisters were allowed in the bar. Thus I ended up meeting (and trading barbs with) Matthew and Eleanor of When We Grow Up, an improv based show I’m not slated to review but might just have to come back to see, based on their quick wit with a stranger in front of the bathrooms. Plus the postcard they handed me had Lego minifigures printed on it. Ya never know.
The Fringe is a once-a-year event- and the small space at Logan has an atmosphere of nervous pre-show energy, quickly downed beers, and anticipation. It’s just started, folks- plenty of time to get in on the fun.
So hang out at the Fringe. Even if you’re late, there’s still a show.