Friday was the official kick-off of 2 Olympics. The one the world is watching is in Beijing. The one the indie theater world partakes is mostly below 14th St the next couple of weeks. The good, the bad, the famewhore-ish. Some of it is made with good intentions. Others for reasons that can only lead to a psychiatrist’s couch. While I’ve read a couple of pieces about whether content or transmission is truly king, I believe it’s what’s used in both.
FringeNYC with its 201 shows can bring a strong man to his knees. It’s everything it takes to put up a normal show times 20 with less time, resources, and manpower.
One guy who seemed to have it in proper perspective is from teatro oscuro, from the Bronx (represent Bx!). They’re putting on La Vigilia. What he said during his time at the Fringe kick-off was right from the heart and had lots of wisdom. He said success from these festivals can be hit or miss. It’s the creative kick you get from putting up the show and meeting all the people from the other companies that makes an ambrosia that brings you back again.
That’s the kind of people whose work should be valued. That’s the person who will take time to remember you as well. Time+persistence+good citizenship+bringing yourself back to the work = audience+a body of work. It isn’t so much whether you make or break it with THIS show. It’s what happens over the course of 5 years, maybe longer.
The guy presiding over the Fringe Kick Off at FringeCentral was the one and only, Mr. Martin Denton. He runs many Indie Theater ventures with the awe-inspiring Rochelle Denton. I didn’t really understand the term advocacy until I met them. They engender Indie Theater advocacy with each action they take.
I first saw Martin in 2003 when I did my first solo show at FringeNYC called Gotham Standards. He was doing the Fringe Kick Off at a church near Washington Square. I was still kind of new to town and didn’t understand how things worked, what nytheatre was, or who this guy was yelling enthusiastically about what great things you’d see at the Fringe.
That year the place was running over with people dying to be the next show to leap from the Fringe to Broadway or beyond. People walked by me with a turned-up nose when I offered my postcards. Tangent: I know they’re a necessary evil but I don’t like postcards. They aren’t very green and people trash them fast. I’m going to avoid using them and come up with other ways of marketing. Also, there’s nothing worse than to put your soul into something only to have someone brush off your postcard like you’re shilling cell phone discounts.
But back to Martin. I don’t know if the genuine thread and spark of NYC theatre festivals would go as they have without Rochelle and him putting the word out and covering so many things. I really don’t. We have a better world because of them.
Also, 8/8/08 is supposedly lucky, especially to the Chinese. It was Martin’s birthday that day and he made it a point to be down there firing up the pilot light so we can all have some heat. I was there at the Kick Off but stayed out of the way. I like to disappear when I’m just a spectator. Then I had to run to work. I didn’t realize it was the man’s birthday.
If you see him hopping from one show to another, wish him a Happy Birthday. Maybe give him a nice baked good to keep him going as he writes reviews for a dozen or so shows and copy edits and posts reviews for the other 188.