Fringe festivals are renowned for offering shows that reflect a huge array of genres. The range of experimental or alternative content is pretty broad, too. So, what exactly is the ultimate Fringe experience?
To me, it’s something that you wouldn’t see in mainstream entertainment. I like performances that satisfy my insatiable hunger for relevant, honest, and conscious political or social commentary. And, I also appreciate shows that tick the ‘weird’ box. It’s thrilling to see stories, ideas, and elements of our world through a new frame.
One of the most disappointing things to observe in a Fringe festival is the promotion of a ‘draw card’ act. Even moreso when that promotion becomes too successful.
What do I mean? I’m glad you asked. I mean successful to the point of influencing people to skip the small, lesser known, and more adventurous of shows.
In a culture predisposed to binaries, these ‘draw card’ shows reinvigorate the notion of high and low art, which – in turn – shifts the emphasis for people who are less aware of such a thing. There’s also a tendency to commoditise art by inviting the misconception that a more expensive ticket represents value for money and, therefore, the ‘draw card’ act is a better option for an unsure audience. I think this division quite drastically undermines the point of having a Fringe festival. I mean, it’s a Fringe festival. Fringe, by definition means:
“The outer, marginal, or extreme part of an area, group, or sphere of activity”
Need I say more?
No, I don’t think so.
Speaking of Fringe, Fringe World Perth is nearly through its first week. Watch this space for reviews; I’ll be doing my best to write about as many shows as I can.