The 2016 Boulder International Fringe Festival is well under way now, with all of the acts having performed at least half of their shows.
Outside the Lines is probably one of the hardest projects I’ve ever done- certainly one of the hardest I’ve ever done without a larger creative team. I’ve been working on the writing for 8 months, designing for 5 months, rehearsing for 2 months, and now it’s finally being performed for a paying audience. I made it!
But then I look around.
To be realistic, most of the shows in the festival are better than mine. There are shows in the festival that have performed in New York, Canada, Scotland, and Australia. There are Off-Broadway actors, people who have been doing this for decades, people with sponsors, or organizations supporting them, or carefully cultivated audiences who will attend anything they produce.
I’ve thrown my hat into a broad and impressive ring full of artists. I believe that I do have a distinct message, a story in my show that only I could tell. I’m fairly confident that I have a premise and setting never before used by an American playwright. But that’s not going to make my show stand out over the others.
I got reviewed by ALOC Media, the local indie artist press. The review itself isn’t great, but it’s honest. It evaluates the show in its context, relative to its neighbors. I could spend years honing and refining my script and performance, and still be out of reaching the competition. Adam Smith of the SF Neofuturists has a great piece, Theatre Show that makes bolder, more compelling meta-theater choices than anything I’ve seen live. John Fico has a solo show Made For Each Other, that does everything I’d ever want a one-man show to do (compelling story, song and dance, well-structured narrative, cross-dressing…). Studio Playhaus, a dark horse group of young theater entrepreneurs, has toured up a marvelously polished production, EllieIda, that is jam-packed with fast paced physical comedy, well executed non-linear narrative, and powerful feminism.
It’s a crazy beautiful world of independent art out there.