September 05, 2007

At the Fringe

One of the many reasons this blog is off to a slow start is that I'm gearing up for a show at the 2007 San Francisco Fringe Festival.

My show, You Go First, is not a storytelling show. Instead, I'm diving back into my roots in improvisation for this one.

One of the challenges of performing at a Fringe Festival is that you are your own producer (unless you've convinced someone else to take that role). The Festival gives you a stage, a person to help with the box office, a person to help out during the 60 minutes you are actually in the physical theater, and includes a description of your show in a program. But everything else (like filling the seats, promoting the show, making the costumes, securing rights, hiring musicians) is your own responsibility.

Having an improvised show (no set, no costumes, no props) simplifies things a bit. Cuts down on rehearsal time, too. (I'm relying on the performers decades-long experience in the craft, natural talent, and trust to pull this off onstage).

But there's a lot of details to attend to (in addition to a full time job, a family, the start of a new school year, etc.)... so I've been neglecting the blog. Been doing a "soft open." Once I'm up and running I'll announce the blog and let people know it's here.

As for Storytelling and Fringe Festivals... I have presented both a workshop and a poster session at the National Storytelling Conference on "Storytelling at the Fringe," as a way of explaining what a Fringe is, why storytellers would want to be there, and even help organize the National Storytelling Conference Fringe. I'll post more about that later.

If you're not familiar with Fringe Festivals, Slash Coleman has a new blog, "Fringe or Die," that is a nuts-and-bolts introduction of how to do it. He explains what Fringe Festivals are here.


Anonymous said...

Wondered what rabbit hole you'd dropped into.
Your workshop/poster on Fringes helped launch interest in fringing among storytellers. I had a blast performing with the Northlands Storytelling Network fringe show and running around seeing everything I could. Storytelling was a huge presence because other storytelling groups and individual artists produced many of the 162 Fringe shows.
Have fun,


Go Tim Go!
Glad to find you again - and see that you are Tim taking on some ineresting challenges.
Appreciated your advice on Fringing before the Rogue Festival in Fresno last year - as well as your program. Look forward to seeing you there again in 2008 and hope our schedules mean we can see each other's sets.
Wishing you smashing success in SF.

Anonymous said...


I'd be curious as to why you chose improv for the fringe this time? Is this based on better or more generous audience expectations, experience that improv draws better than traditional storytelling, or simply what you felt like doing for this fringe? I'm curious because your blog talks about the oral storytelling tradition but you're going with an improv set. I'm not disputing your choice, as it's yours, but curious if any is based on the public's reaction to a more traditional storytelling set at a fringe. Or heck, even a more nontraditonal storytelling set at the fringe.

Tim said...

I felt like doing improv, and applied to the SF Fringe 9 months ago, when my current storytelling show was in development for a March fringe and my confidence in it weak.
It would have cost me $100 to change my application post-selection, so I elected to stick with my improv pitch.
Funnily enough, out of the 38 shows in the SF Fringe this year, there are 6 self-described storytellers, all doing personal not traditional stories, and 5 of the 6 are actually recognizable to the storytelling community as storytellers. (The other is clearly a theatrical one-man autobiographical show where he's telling his story, but via imagined characters).