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« Sleepy tired writer guy | Main | Woo-back the Sask edition »
Friday
Jul212017

Hit the Fringe Running

Why is it that if I don't blog for a bit, spammy comments start showing up? Is that a way of kicking me in the butt?

Back from my Sask. book tour - the first of two this summer - and it was a blast. I will post a proper summary of that soon. But for now, I have hit the Fringe running. By that I mean the Winnipeg Fringe Festival. My city holds one of the best fringe fests in the country, maybe the continent. This year I believe there are almost 190 shows... including one of mine.

My daughter is a great actress and has been involved in productions over the years. She asked if I'd ever be interested in writing a show, and I pondered on it. In fact I wrote a few in my mind while at the beer tent last summer - but thankfully none of those ever hit the stage (or even the page).

But I did being writing a play dealing with something that I think a lot about - social media. I was always an early adopter, and when facebook came along (whenever that was), I jumped on. Ditto Twitter and Instagram. I love them all - they just somehow fit into the way I think. I was also aware of the growing toll they could take on me being present to my friends (and my wife!) So I, as one character in the play says, "dial it back" once in a while.

I knew if I wrote a fringe play it would be a comedy - I love all kinds of theatre, but I do tend to gravitate to the comedies. My son is an improv and sketch comedian - and my whole family is just sorta funny (goofy?)

The play, Filter This, deals with a couple that tries to see if they can live in each other's world (and I give my daughter co-creator credit, as the premise was her idea). Wanting to show how the infiltration of social media is so ever-present, I created a character that embodied those digital interactions. The Meme is on stage for the enitre play, and voices ever tweet, text, facebook post, instagram photo that happens between the other two characters. We were lucky enough to get a wonderfully physical comic actor to play this part.

Filter This opened last night to a packed house. I jokingly said to a volunteer taking tickets that I promised one laugh every two minutes... or the patron would get there money back! I didn'y have to worry though, as the place was full of laughter throughout the performance.

On purpose I didn't want to preach on either side - social media evil - social media good. I only wanted to pose some questions for the audience. What does it mean to be present? To be mindful to each other? And are there some good things about social media? Can it engage one's compassion?

The actors, the director and stage manager beautifully breathed this play into life - and I get the ultimate joy of just leaning back and listening. And I still laugh out loud at many of the parts.

Here is a link to the Fringe Website

And here is where you can pick up tickets

Fringe it up!

And spammers be quiet now.

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