Back on the long, straight, flat highway that takes us straightly, flatly and... erm... longly to Winnipeg. That's where the whole Fringe experience was going to ramp up the intensity almost straight away. Due to us not knowing that there was a time difference we arrived in Winnipeg with only an hour to spare before Penny's tecg rehearsal at her alloted venue. We had just enough time to drop our cases off at the house we were staying and drive into town to find the theatre. It was massive. you could probably fit the Regina venue that she had on the stage of the Winnipeg theatre.
Before any performances can start there's the small matter of putting up posters....lot's of posters. Everywhere you walk around the fringe areas for those first few days you are accompanied by an orchestra of parcel tape being ripped from the reel punctuated by the gun shots from a battalion of staple gun wielding actors, comedians, musicians, magicians, poets, producers and directors. I found myself climbing up lamp posts and taping things to the side of portable toilets. I didn't stick any inside the toilets although others did (it's such a glamourous life I'm leading at the moment). Of course once that's done the real business starts.
Not gentle, laid back Regina flyering. Oh no no no! This is pounding the streets between the various venues and flyering the "lines" (That's Canadian for "queues". I'm getting the hang of the lingo you see). You find the shows with the biggest line and compete (I say compete but it is all rather friendly and good natured) with a dozen other artists all trying to sell their show as well. Trying to tread the fine line between being charming, funny and selling the show to people, and being that annoying bastard handing out annoying bits of paper to annoyed people who don't want them. Canadians are generally quite friendly and in Winnipeg they go batshit crazy for the fringe so most tend to put up with the annoying guy with the stupid hat and silly sunglasses and even sillier voice. Which is nice.
Another thing that makes all this easier for me is having a great show to flyer. We were both a little worried because the first show was a little flat. The Audience were probably the quietest I've seen it being performed to and I hope she doesn't mind me saying this but Penny's performance was a little flat too, as a result. I've seen her do it so much better. We went home after that first performance a little deflated but perked up somewhat in the morning when a five star review appeared on the CBC website (CBC is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). Things like that help. From then on a buzz picked up about the show and as I went about my flyering business I was getting good feedback and people were telling other people it was a "must see" show. YAY. I think after that the only disappointment we had was when one show was late on a Sunday and during a massive downpour. It affected numbers but Winnipeg can be considered successful. OH and CBC did name Promise & Promiscuity as the Outstanding out of town production.
I'm claiming all credit because that's just how I roll now. Penny has created a monster. I even talk to strangers now and everything.
As is always the case the people we stayed with were awesome and did everything they could to help us. Sometimes you feel a little guilty that you treat the places you stay as a hotel because you're out in the morning and not really getting back until late. I think they understood though and made us more than welcome.
I don't know if anyone knows this about me but I'm not the worlds biggest admirer of dogs. They are usually big slobbery, smelly beasts that I find it hard to love. Then I met Guinness. Oliver & Ragan's dog was friendly, un-smelly and very quiet. He was a bit "licky" but I didn't mind as he was a charmer!
This is such a long blog post but I've only scratched the surface of my Winnipeg fringe experience. I've met some great and interesting people with great and interesting stories to tell. I've drunk quite a lot of beer (hurrah) and I'm sure that won't stop.
Anyway onwards to Victoria for a break and then....
IT'S MY TURN AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!