Saturday at Theatre-in-the-Round was one of the best times I've had at Fringe.
This was in part due to the line-up. Look at these shows:
There's a little something for everyone, and it just so happened there was plenty for me!
Staying in one place has largely taken away the stress I've felt in previous years from running to venue-to-venue. Sure, I'm getting less exercise, but that's what my morning run or walking home from the West Bank accomplishes.
Instead of running around, I'm just there, in the space, taking it in, chatting with people I know as they come in, and trying to get to know the volunteers and staff working that day. I see more of the techs bustling around between shows and the casts waiting outside to be let in. I see who's coming and going from show to show, and who sticks around for the next.
And there's a bond that I'm establishing with the venues, and I'm feeling right now the strongest affinity for TRP. This may be because I performed there in the last Fringe Orphans, but also because I took the time to really try to get to know the performance space. Being in the round, I'm almost always unsure of where to sit for the best view, so each time I went to a new show in TRP, I made sure to sit somewhere else. And though I didn't find the perfect seat, I preferred the front rows of Section C and F.
There was a point during How To Date a Werewolf and I was sitting in Section D, where Meaghan DiSciorio's latent lycanthrope Terry is on a date with a very pathetic character played by Joy Dolo, and I saw only Joy's back and missed some of the conversation. But that's the round. Sometimes you roll the dice and you're seated in the wrong place, and not every show can be blocked perfectly from every angle.
I do think there are ideal characters for working in the round--Scot Moore played a preacher in the opening sequence of Men Will Be Boys, which allowed him to play to the entire audience, and David Beukema similarly played a motivational speaker (of sorts) in Fringe Orphans 2 that had a direct address style that went over well. These were largely one-person scenes, so that afforded both performers with freedom of movement. But when more people are added, more decisions have to be made about who is standing where.
And I saw good decisions; or at least I thought were good decisions from my viewpoint. Theatre 101 is frantic and constantly moving, with nothing too fixed, Turn Signals has a car onstage that turns to face a different part of the audience from scene to scene, and though The Education of Murray Sanderson has a fixed set, you know what it looks like and can seat yourself to find what you think is the best view.
After the run of shows on Saturday, Theatre-in-the-Round felt a little like home. It was a home where I would have liked to turn off the air conditioning for a bit, but also one where I could head off the Fringe Orphans 2 cast afterwards and enjoy a pint while discussing ideas for Fringe Orphans 3.
What to See in Theatre-in-the-Round
I recommend any of the shows above--I kept waiting for the show wave I was riding throughout my stay to end, but it never did. I had a great time in the space. But if I had to pick a favorite--and I will pick a favorite--it was Men Will Be Boys. An examination of male gender roles in our society requires direct looks misogyny, and some might not be willing to go there. But I hope you do. I really do.
Venue the Next: Rarig Center