This year, we are sending roving reporters around Fringe to bring back stories. For this first Fringe Binge column, John Morogiello ventured no further than his spot upstairs at the Pursuit Wine Bar.
Back in March or April, when Best Medicine Rep learned from the “Fringy Powers That Be” that Blue Over You would be performing on the second floor of Pursuit Wine Bar, my fears were twofold. First, would it be like the nightmarish 7th Street days, when Irish Authors Held Hostage went up on the second floor of an un-air conditioned warehouse during a heatwave? And second, could I resist oenological temptation before each show?
So far so good on both counts.
Pursuit is a fun, cozy space that reminds me of when I did stand-up at The Laugh Factory in Hollywood, or some sort of 1920s salon. The audience is free to imbibe during the show, which greatly adds to its charm; the drawback being when the waitress arrives in the middle of an environmentally staged portion of your monologue and you need to dance around her.
Aside from the bar’s telephone ringing just offstage, the only other drawback to the venue, from a producer’s perspective, is lack of storage. For every performance, I must schlep the full set from Gaithersburg, unload it on H Street, and find parking while our stage manager and director stand guard. We’ve been lucky with the rain and the parking up to this point, and both the Fringe venue manager and the folks at Pursuit have been accommodating.
During tech, we spent an hour setting levels and going cue to cue, only to blow a fuse three pages into the run-through. Our 8 channels were immediately reduced to 4, one of which doesn’t dim, but it’s more than enough light for such a small space. When they’re that close, even 2 fresnels are enough to make a performer sweat buckets.
On opening night, as luck would have it, I found myself standing beneath the air conditioner vent during a pivotal moment of the show. I suddenly concluded that those lines needed to be delivered at a snail’s pace. Air conditioning is a wonderful thing, and it’s working well at Pursuit. I’m told that the audience remained in comfort throughout opening night. And that’s good. The only thing that should make them uncomfortable is me.
Check out some of the shows at Pursuit and enjoy a glass of wine!