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    2014 Fringe Lineup

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Fringe Hallucinations put an end to Disney

March 4, 2014

From Beetlejuice to Bluesman

How Chase Padgett quit Disney to become a real life Fringe guitar hero

Chase Padgett as the Nashville Hurricane, an autistic kid with an amazing musical talent who has to overcome his biggest fear.

Chase Padgett as the Nashville Hurricane, an autistic kid with an amazing musical talent who has to overcome his biggest fear.

You don’t often hear of actors quitting their full time acting jobs to do a Fringe show, but that’s exactly what Chase Padgett did in 2010—but the show the actor/musician is best known for would never had happened if the trumpet hadn’t become a bore.

Since he can remember, Chase has been performing—whether it was in school productions or playing the trumpet in the school band. In seventh grade, Chase’s dad gave him a guitar for Christmas.

“I hadn’t asked for a guitar and I didn’t want it,” Chase explained. But over the next couple years, Chase started to get bored with the trumpet, and finally, when he was 15, he decided to pull the guitar out of the closet and try playing it. “I taught myself a few chords and decided that if it ever got boring, I’d stop. I wanted to focus on the mystery of the instrument, rather than the mastery, and that’s led me to try out all the genres you see in 6 Guitars.”

During his days at the University of Central Florida, where he gained a BA with a focus in music, Chase decided to experiment with improv at the SAK Comedy Lab in Orlando. He was hooked and the experience helped lead him to jobs at Disney World and Universal Studios where he worked full time playing characters like Beetlejuice and the Grinch.

But Chase wanted a challenge. Along with his sketch comedy troupe, the Executives, Chase ventured into the world of Fringe in 2008 and 2009.

Another challenge had been in the works during those years too. With his SAK Comedy Lab buddy and fellow Disney World employee Jay Hopkins, Chase had begun creating the characters in 6 Guitars.

Jay would interview me as each character, and we’d record these interviews. Together we finessed them and developed the script for 6 Guitars,” Chase said. When he made it into the Orlando Fringe Festival in 2010, he decided to quit his full time job. “I learned so much at Disney World, but I had to take the risk.”

The risk paid off. 6 Guitars swept the Audience Choice Awards and has gone on to be performed 158 times. “Every performance is a little different,” Chase explains. “It’s a little bit scary that way, but it keeps things fresh.”

Nashville Hurricane, Chase’s next solo show, which will be in Vancouver March 19 to 23, started off in a similar way to 6 Guitars, with the help of Jay Hopkins. “There’s also a little bit of me in it,” Chase shared. “There are some similarities between me and Henry, the main character. We both spent a lot of time alone learning to play music.”

But unlike Chase, Henry doesn’t want to perform. “The character has autism and he has to overcome his fear of people,” Chase explains. “The story is structured like Joseph Campbell’s monomyth. Henry’s a hero who’s given a gift. He has to find himself through the journey and is challenged along the way. He has to figure out how to do what he loves, playing music, while overcoming a fear of being in front of people.”

Music fans will be happy to know that Chase has added more songs to the show since its original inception—and fans of Tommy Emmanuel will see his influence on the music in Nashville Hurricane. “Henry’s playing very much in Tommy Emmanuel’s style, with the harmony, melody, and bass all played at once on the guitar,” Chase explains. “And it all culminates in the closing number, ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia.’”

Get your tickets to see Chase in Nashville Hurricane, March 19 to 23 at Performance Works on Granville Island.

Totem Figures with Charles Ross

by David Jordan, Fringe Festival Executive Director

TJ Dawe (centre) and Charlie Ross (right) in Mr. Tickle, a 1994 production at the University of Victoria. TJ played Mr. Tickle while Charles Ross was one of the puppeteers working the costume arms, which were made of thirty feet of dryer hose.

TJ Dawe (centre) and Charlie Ross (right) in Mr. Tickle, a 1994 production at the University of Victoria. TJ played Mr. Tickle while Charlie was one of the puppeteers working the costume arms, which were made of thirty feet of dryer hose.

In February we kicked off our year round programming initiative “Fringe Presents” with One Man Lord of the Rings and Hockey Night at the Puck and Pickle Pub—undeniably two of the greatest success stories to ever come out of the Fringe circuit. Alongside these shows we also hosted TJ Dawe’s interview series, Totem Figures, which was initially created as podcasts following the theatre show of the same name.

Often touted as a “Fringe God,” TJ interviews guests about their heroes and influences—their Totem Figures. Although the Totem Figures podcasts are complete, TJ revived the series for the stage—adding video to support some of the discussion. He interviewed Charlie Ross of One Man Lord of the Rings on February 8 and will be interviewing Chase Padgett following a performance of Nashville Hurricane on March 22, 2014.

When TJ and I first conceived of adding Totem Figures interviews to select Fringe Presents performances, we were certain that we didn’t want them to be anything like a normal talk back where a handful of people stick around. One of the gifts TJ brings is the ability to discuss a wide range of topics in great depth and detail—which he displayed in spades with Charlie (it also doesn’t hurt that they have been friends for more than 20 years). What was really exciting about the interview was that throughout it Charlie and TJ talked about the essence of theatre and performance by talking about topics that seemingly have nothing to do with theatre, or with each other: wrestling, favourite records, and Iron Maiden.

If you missed Totem Figures with Charlie Ross, click through to read all about it from Fringe Executive Director David Jordan.

Hallucinatory Deal for Underbelly

2012 Cultchivating the Fringe Award winner Jayson McDonald is back with Underbelly at The Cultch, March 18-30.

2012 Cultchivating the Fringe Award winner Jayson McDonald is back with Underbelly at The Cultch, March 18-30.

This is not a hallucination! It is not September. It is March—yet the Fringe seems to be upon us with two Georgia Straight Critics’ Choice Award winners on Vancouver stages this month.

At the 2012 Fringe, Underbelly won the Cultchivating the Fringe Award, which is presented to the Festival show that demonstrates unique potential and rewards it with a run at The Cultch. The time has finally arrived, March 18 to 30.

Based on the life and writings of William S. Burroughs and The Beats, Jayson McDonald’s portrayal of a generation dealing with the aftermath of WWII, a group of whom developed a new literary style and cultural movement, is mesmerizing—so much so that the Straight’s Colin Thomas calls for more: “Dazzling…the script is full of crazy humour and darkness…Again! Again!”

And if that isn’t enough incentive, The Cultch is offering Fringe Fans an exclusive offer! Save 50% on tickets to Underbelly at The Cultch when you book by March 7! Enter promo code underbelly50 online or by phone through The Cultch Box Office at 604-251-1363.* Again, we reiterate, this is not a hallucination!

* Valid for A+B seats for performances on March 18 to 22 only. When purchasing online simply enter the code into the “Discount Coupon” field at the checkout page. Cannot be combined with any other offer. No cash value. Offer may not be applied on past purchases.

Publicity Workshop with Media Maven Deb Pickman

Fringe alumni and publicity specialist Deb Pickman will be leading a publicity workshop on Mondayn April 14.

Fringe alumni and publicity specialist Deb Pickman will be leading a publicity workshop on Monday, April 14.

Are you trying to get media attention for your event but not having any luck? Or are you a marketing hot shot that craves even more media coverage? We have a solution! Deb Pickman, co-artistic director and ensemble member of the Vancouver theatre company shameless hussy productions, and Communications & Marketing Specialist for Theatre at UBC, will return to host Hot Copy, a marketing and publicity workshop to help you get the media attention you need!

While the workshop will focus on marketing a Fringe Festival show, the low and no-cost tips and tricks are ideal for all independent artists looking to promote themselves and their events. Learn the basics of a press release and when to contact media outlets, what are the key elements to choosing promotional images for posters and flyers, and social media tips. Plus, Deb will answer as many questions as time allows!

When: Monday, April 14, 7-9:00pm
Where: Carousel Theatre Studio, 1411 Cartwright Street on Granville Island
How Much?:  Free for confirmed 2014 Fringe Festival artists; $10 for non-Fringe artists
RSVP to Shantini Klaassen at administration[at]vancouverfringe[dot]com by April 11, 2014

Hearts and Glitter and Fringe Love

We have a thing about love. And we love the Fringers who create a vibrant community of theatre-makers and goers in Vancouver, centered around the Festival—and all year long. Every year people share stories of making friends (and love connections) at the Festival and how the interactions Fringers have with each other break so many stereotypes of Vancouver as an unfriendly, no-fun place.

Just a few of this year's Valentine's cards being made by loving hands.

Just a few of this year’s Valentine’s cards being made by loving hands.

A special group of Fringers help make the Fringe happen in a concrete way—our donors, many of whom are also volunteers and artists, contributing in so many ways! We always want to express our love for these special folk, so once again, we sent them Valentine’s cards!

A team of loving volunteers came in for an arts and craft day at the Fringe office to make cards that we mailed off shortly after. Cut outs of hearts, glitter glue, and a special cupid made up the Valentine cards, which now adorn fridges, mantles, and email boxes around Vancouver and beyond.

Didn’t get a Fringe-y Valentine? Want to contribute to your Fringe community? Donate today and keep an eye out for our annual fundraising campaign, Spring for the Fringe, this May! We love you guys!

Fringe Goes to Sochi!

February 4, 2014

Sochi May Not be Ready, But the Puck and Pickle is Primed for Action

The Province's Jerry Wasserman says Hockey Night at the Puck and Pickle Pub is

The Province’s Jerry Wasserman says Hockey Night at the Puck and Pickle Pub is “good for a laugh about every 15 seconds.”

You’ve heard the stories about Sochi and how it may not actually be ready for the Games—construction delays, slopestyle run safety, not to mention a myriad of other issues. But the good news is that the Puck and Pickle Pub is ready to host its version of the Gold Medal Game, and you’re invited to sit back and meet its set of eclectic patrons—all played by Ryan Gladstone and Jon Paterson.

When Hockey Night at the Puck and Pickle Pub opened at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival this summer, like Sochi, the guys may not have been prepared. They had only rehearsed four times—and they admitted it on stage! But the audience loved it and it’s only gotten better since, going on to win the Public Market Pick of the Fringe at our own Fringe last September. As an added challenge to this run of the show, Ryan told us that if a player is injured, he and Jon may have to improvise because the players are characters in the show! Hockey Night will be on stage at Studio 1398, February 13-15, right in the middle of the Olympics, so the guys will have to improvise in real time, but we’re not worried!

As a bit of fun, we asked Ryan to imagine beyond the Gold Medal Game. We asked him to put a fantasy Fringe hockey team together, and this is what he came up with:

Martin Dockery in Goal.  His lanky frame should cover half the net.
Peter n’ Chris as our top defensive pair. It’s obvious one has superior talent and is just taking the one for a ride. And we all know which one… right?
Tara Travis would be our top line centre. She can use her multitude of facial expressions to win… well, face-offs!
Travis Bernhardt as the right winger—magic hands that kid, magic hands…
And Jacques Lalonde as our rugged left winger. Need that veteran presence to keep the kids in line, plus, he’s not afraid to drop the gloves from time to time!

Until that team hits the ice, Jon and Ryan will be playing all the positions on the team. We know the best fans in hockey are Canadian and we know the best fans in theatre are Fringers. Come and cheer on your team. We Will, WE WILL, FRINGE YOU!

More Drama, More Mentorship

The Body of a Woman as a Battlefield in the Bosnian War, as presented by the Tokyo Theatre Company KAZE in 2009. The script will be produced at the Fringe's new Drama Venue this fall.

The Body of a Woman as a Battlefield in the Bosnian War, as presented by the Tokyo Theatre Company KAZE in 2009. The script will be produced at the Fringe’s new Drama Venue this fall.

2014 will be a dramatic year at the Vancouver Fringe Festival—literally. Thanks to generous support from Lochmaddy Foundation, we’ve added a category for artists to produce previously published dramatic scripts with two or more actors! We’re calling it the Drama Venue and it will be housed at The Cultch’s Vancity Culture Lab.

With this new program, six directors, chosen on a first come, first served basis, will produce drama-based theatre pieces for the September Festival. Marisa Smith of Alley Theatre (Tape, 2009) hope to bring Hannah Moscovitch’s Little One to the Drama Venue while The Body of a Woman as a Battlefield in the Bosnian War, recognized by Theatre Without Borders, will hopefully be produced by Qelsey Zeeper of Sinzi (the Drama Venue Directors are currently in the midst of securing the rights to their chosen shows). These are just two of the six shows drama appreciators can look forward to at the Fringe.

Continuing with our goal of supporting emerging artists, Drama Venue directors will be mentored by veteran actor/director, Scott Bellis. Best known as a founding member and Artistic Associate at Bard on the Beach, an actor in numerous Arts Club productions, and as a director at Studio 58, will be our first mentor for this brand new program. We’re excited about this venture and hope you will be too!

These Snails Aren’t Slowpokes

We put this little video of the Mind of a Snail preview during the Festival up on Instagram!

We put this little video of the Mind of a Snail preview during the Festival up on Instagram!

We’re all about celebrating and we’re so proud of the winners of the 2013 Joanna Maratta Award, Mind of a Snail, that we had to share their news with you. The Joanna Maratta Award provides mentorship to the artist who has the greatest potential for professional development—and Mind of a Snail, creators of Against Gravity, have been working with Fringe Festival Executive Director David Jordan over the past few months.

The focus so far has been on incorporating their company and making sure there’s internal structure, but the fun stuff is all the festivals they’ll be going to this year, their busiest yet. Mind of a Snail  was part of the VanDusen Garden’s Festival of Lights over the holidays, they just finished a run at Winterlab in Victoria, they’ll be at three Fringes; Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Vancouver, and the Pacific Northwest Regional Puppetry Festival this summer (and another, that we can only tease you about since we can’t announce it).

Can’t wait to see Mind of a Snail’s shadow puppetry? They’ll be part of the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Family Day celebrations on February 10.

The Theatre Scene

Just a taste of what Vancouver has to offer in the way of Theatre

One Man Lord of the Rings
February 6-9
Waterfront Theatre
The first of the Fringe’s new year round presenting series opens Thursday! Charles Ross races through 9+ hours of Lord of the Rings films (and book references) in a mere 65 minutes, with no props—all by himself! This will sell out, so get your tickets now!

Bug
February 14 – March 1
The Shop Theatre
Written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tracy Letts, Bug is about conspiracy theories, UFOs, sanity, and loneliness.

Nothing But Sky
February 20 – March 2
Scotiabank Dance Centre, Faris Family Studio
Taking place inside a live drawing, Nothing But Sky is the story of the Canadian who first drew Superman. Watch the preview, and you’ll want to go.


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