As a dad, it’s important to me to be there to read my son his bedtime stories and kiss him goodnight as regularly as I possibly can. As an arts writer, it’s also important to me to stay involved with the local scene and see performances on at least a semi-regular basis. That works out all right when it comes to music – most of the shows I see don’t get underway until after 9pm – but finding late night theater is more of a challenge.
That’s why I’m excited to sample the late night offerings at this year’s Fringe Festival. Not only does it work out for me logistically, it also plays to a number of my pet interests. I’ve always been semi-nocturnal, not least because I’m fascinated by what goes on in the city after dark. I have a hunch that the 10pm slate of Fringe shows will attract a whole different audience than the earlier performances, for better or for worse, depending on the show.
That’s a big part of what I want to write about in this column – who sees late night theater and how do they respond to what they see? I know exactly the sort of folks most likely to stick around for a garage band’s final chords on a Thursday night at, say, Turf Club. Are the 10pm Fringe-goers their theatrical equivalent? Are they Fringe bingers looking to squeeze as many shows as possible into the day? Or are they folks like me whose day shift obligations keep them away from the theater more frequently than they’d like?
And moving beyond the theater, what’s the scene like on the streets outside the venues? A lot of these shows will be letting out just as the night life starts to pick up. Will stepping out of a thought-provoking performance into a maelstrom of bar-hoppers impact my perception? Will a comedy crowd leave the show and hit the nearest tavern while a dance crowd heads straight for the parking lot? I honestly have no idea, and that has me fired up about writing this column.
I’ll try to catch a good cross-section of genres and styles, and maybe give a little extra attention to shows with bad buzz around them. Because hey, if ever there was a time to stick up for the underdog, it’s late in the evening. You run along to bed now. I’ll let you know in the morning what you missed.