Articles tagged with: Ottawa Fringe Festival
We live in the Age of Spectacle, and this has great benefits. Standing with a hushed group in front of a Rembrandt at the National Gallery of Canada or in a crowd of 30,000 listening to Bob Dylan at Bluesfest links us to the big picture, the idea that history is consequential and that we can be part of it. The transcendence separates us from our surroundings, and bragging rights alone are worth the disconnection.
For those content in the belief that the Internet is not the future of arts marketing, the Ottawa Fringe Festival should provide a moment of hesitation. No attendance numbers yet from event organizers, and those probably won’t be all that different from the historic high of 13,000, but online access to festival information has given the Fringe a boost that only very expensive promotional campaigns achieve.
I’ve never heard such an un-manufactured buzz surrounding one arts event in Ottawa as the communion coalescing around the Ottawa Fringe Festival in just its second day. One reason must be a huge uptake of social media, especially Twitter and Facebook. But these un-contextualized conversations are a bit overwhelming, like offering 80 brands of bottled to water to someone who’s just spent two months in the desert. There’s something else going on.
For Ken Godmere, the evening of June 15 is all about a book. The back story is so dark and smelly that when the plot finishes in celebration, you’ll have to wonder how, and why, it all fits together. And maybe it doesn’t, because Godmere will use the book that night like Hamlet uses Yorik’s skull: a moment of revelation in a dangerous, confusing time.
In most performance on stage there’s a moment, usually early, when the audience knows exactly the domain they’ve entered. It is tradition, the satisfaction delivered for the $20 or $120 ticket, and this endorsement molds people to the back of their seats. No performance event in Ottawa obscures those domains like the Fringe Festival, and this implausibility draws viewers to the edges of their seats.
“Some of my best memories are of the most appalling shows,” says Natalie Joy Quesnel. It is a statement of pure affection. While we all have bitchiness in us, Quesnel is nowhere near that page when talking about the Ottawa Fringe Festival, which she helped nurse-maid for years and this year became its official nanny – the executive producer. Starting June 17, she has 60 performance groups staging 370 shows, and some of them are going to fall flat on their faces.
So maybe now it’s time to get Emily Pearlman squarely on your radar. Since returning to Ottawa, Pearlman has shown up a great deal in theatre talk; at last summer’s fringe festival, she was the main talk, and her work in Countries Shaped Like Stars is still emitting buzz in the southern United States from its run nearly a month ago.
So it’s no surprise that when the Rideau Awards nominees for Ottawa/Gatineau’s professional theatre were announced last night, Pearlman’s name kept sticking out: nominations for best performance by a female, …