Lessons and Suggestions for the FringeBy Laura & Mike Clark • Jul 17th, 2010 • Category: Fringe, News
Here are a few lessons I’ve learned from attending the first weekend of the Capital Fringe Festival:
- The no late seating rule means exactly what it sounds like. If you arrive late, too bad.
- Most shows start within one minute of their scheduled “curtain” time. One show I saw started three minutes late, and one 15 minutes late (due to technical problems at the venue). Let’s teach people that the time the show is advertised to begin at means exactly that. I loathe that at non-Fringe theater an 8:00 curtain means 8:10 (or later!)
- Arrive early for the “good seats.” That would be those near the cool air vents or fans. This is especially important at the Clinic, the Point, and the Apothecary.
- At some venues, when you are deciding where to sit, check out the location of the emergency exit. Some venues only have one exit, and one venue I’ve been to the exit was actually backstage, and during the show I saw, the exit was partially blocked by the set.
- Reserve your tickets online as soon as you can. A few shows that I was sure would be sold out were nearly empty, and a few shows I was sure would be empty were sold out.
- Wear comfortable shoes (you’ll walk a fair bit between venues) and clothing (lighter colors, shorts are acceptable).
- Stay hydrated. It helps keep your body cool.
- The Historical Society Museum (at Mount Vernon Square) has really nice bathrooms. (And currently very nice exhibits covering Metro history and Jewish Washington).
- Don’t lose your button. Even after this year’s Fringe is complete on July 25th, you can still get discounts at DC area businesses. Sign up for the Fringe mailing list to stay informed about the discounts.
- People wearing the Fringe button are very friendly. Ask them what shows they have seen and you’ll get into a nice conversation.
- There are lots of people wandering around DC lost. On Sunday I helped guide four people to various locations, both on Metro and above ground.
And here are a few suggestions to improve future Fringes:
- Sell cold water at the venues.
- Get better air conditioning at the venues.
- Improve the signage in front of each venue. Many of the sandwich boards are only labelled on one side, in small lettering. Once you’ve been to a few shows, you know what to look for. But for a first time visitor, it is confusing.
- A large print version of the festival guide would be useful. I’ve heard several people complaining they are having a difficult time reading the small print; and the white lettering on gray or black background doesn’t help either.
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Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.