The Vancouver Fringe Festival is an annual event featuring over 700 performances, 80 shows, and 89 artists taking to stages in the Granville Island and downtown areas. Everything from poetry to improv and musicals to crime thrillers will be featured across the stages of Fringe. Below are the eight shows this year that feature either an SFU alumni or current student in some manner of performance or leadership role.
No Tweed Too Tight
Returning to Fringe this year, No Tweed Too Tight is enthusiastically described as offensive and “more belligerent than an orangutan at a monkey shaving contest,” according to press releases. This show takes place in 1976, following an inebriated insurance investigator on his wild and inappropriate adventures. Though not a show for those with a weak stomach or sensitive ears, the show sounds like it aims to make you laugh, as well as cringe.
Slumming is an original play featuring two local actors, that, according to director Barbara Ellison, shows “two worlds collide as a mysterious shopping cart lady and a street sex worker fight over a piece of urban wasteland.” Beneath the dark humour of this piece lie important current and universal issues, such as the disappearance of Native women, and the resilience of people facing abject poverty, such as in the setting of this piece — the downtown Vancouver East Side.
This play merges the stories of two men, and the country of Guatemala, on Fringe stages this year. The show blends aspects of a psychological thriller with tense drama, appealing to fans of darker crime based tv shows and movies.
The winner of the 2013 Governor General Literary Award for Drama, Greenland takes place on the only wooden steam tugboat left in North America. It is a humourous yet heartbreaking journey into death and isolation that occurs on an old boat.
An unscripted show, STUFFED, features a diverse 20-person ensemble. This show will be especially unique due to the variations in each performance. “It will, quite literally, be a different show every night,” said writers/directors Susanna Uchatius and Adam Grant Warren. Through the use of stuff found, donated, or thrown away, the performers examine the things, and the ideas, they have discarded throughout their lives. “STUFFED is [. . .] about a handful of things that matter, in the middle of a heap of junk that doesn’t,” said Warren.
Cannibal: The Musical
A “a singin’, dancin’, flesh eatin’ toe tapper” according to its press release, Cannibal: The Musical follows Alferd Packer as he leads a team in search of gold through the Colorado Rockies, and emerges as the only survivor. The show follows his journey through the court system, on trial for the cannibalistic acts that took place on his journey, flashbacks of the journey, and what really happened to his fellow travelers.
Shakespeare’s classic play, Macbeth, receives a startling revision this year at Fringe. The story takes place at the Dunsinane Institute for the Criminally Insane, though according to the director, “the whole play takes place in Macbeth’s mind.” Rather than a historical piece, it is set in a dystopian future, illustrating the struggle that prevails in all societies between ambition, guilt, and madness. The original language of Shakespeare’s time is one of few things still intact, making for a creative and unique perspective on a classic play.
The Shakuhachi Quest
Inspired by real events, The Shakuhachi Quest is a play alongside live musical accompaniment, performed as a one-man show by Jim Sands. The show follows the story of music fans, and their search for the legendary Shakuhachi flute. As Jim said, “If you love music you’ll love the show. If you don’t love music, you will by the end of the show.”
Definition of Time
Definition of Time presents an exploration of time through dance and theatre.
According to the press release, time is defined as “the container full of memories, fragrance, voice, thought and emotion.” The release continues, “When we’re going to define time, time will deviate from its definition.” The dance performed by SFU alumna Iris Lau will present time as fragmented, yet narrative.
The Vancouver Fringe Festival runs September 4 to 14 in and around Granville Island. For Information, visit vancouverfringe.com.