The Winnipeg Fringe Festival Day 2

FTLComm - Winnipeg
July 3, 1999

We had originally planned to take in some of the plays on the second day but got caught up in the on going circus outdoor show which for Friday was jugglers and more jugglers. Mixed into the afternoon was a crafty magician doing rope and hoop tricks and an Australian performer reciting poetry and doing whip tricks.

But that was just the show the mosaic of the people who come to watch and participate, the exotic food and the level of involvement in the performance was by far more exciting. As the day wore on the crowd grew and until by evening the park was jammed
with people of all ages and what seemed like all walks of life caught up in the electrifying atmosphere of live performance where the unexpected happens and the turn of events hinges on the participants and the viewer's reactions.
These performances each ended with the performer taking up a collection and in some cases elaborate lead ups to their finale and how important the contributions are to the performers.

In the early afternoon we saw two local boys learning the art of juggling and the much more complex issue of entertaining the audience One performer Robin Chapman is well known having been seen on television did some great balancing acts and superior work on a unicycle. But the quality of the performance and showmanship was never an issue it was the plain fun of seeing the performer right in front of you and being part of the event. One tall man assisted in three consecutive acts as an assistant, holding a rope or steadying
some apparatus. It was clear that he and those who helped with him were enjoying themselves.

As mentioned yesterday there are many people who seemed to have experience a temporal displacement as they are from another era and yet by their age they are far to young to even have been aware of the culture of the late sixties.
Below are the two local boys doing their act with lit torches then being interviewed after their performance.
The Australian whip snapping performer (below) with his great delivery of poems and verse was a nice change from the jugglers and especially got the attention of the crowd when he did the Cremation of Sam McGee by Robert Service. The most polished act we saw was the pair below who entertained with wit and extremely refined skills in both the delivery of comic material but also in the way they handled the things that intruded into their performance.
At one point a pleasant drunk decided to become part of the act and proceeded to take a bow. They worked the bit into their performance so well that I believed for a moment that he was part of the performance. Balanced on a loose rope held in place by two groups of five men we were treated to some of the best juggling of the day and in just moments everyone was swept into the outstanding skill of the performers.
As for what we saw in these two days I don't believe what we were witnessing is anything like the fringe but rather an excuse for good fun and low cost live performances. The reviews to the various plays are now starting to come out and it is clear that these performances though seeing good size audiences have little hope of doing little more then breaking even. Such is the nature of show business, it is so difficult for the talented performer to break into the business and there are so many chasing after the brass ring.