The 22nd Edition of the St. Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival
Last Monday, I nervously twitched my way through an hour of traffic as Homer Simpson's quotable, "Oh my God, I'm missing the chili cook-off! I'm missing the cook-off, it's going on right now, and I'm missing it!" ran its whiny loop through my mind. MainLine Theatre's chili cook-off press conference was unfolding at Les Katacombes and come Hell, high water or a turtle pace commute, I was not going to miss it.
Amidst the chili's wafting aroma, the excited clamoring of cutlery and a trove of thoroughly satisfied media representatives, MainLine Theatre released their lineup for the 22nd installment of the St. Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival, which will take place from June 4th to June 24th.
"The Fringe is all about discovery," said Festival Director Amy Blackmore. "I like to think of the festival as a giant potluck dinner. Anyone can get anything they want. Year after year, patrons keep coming back to discover new talent, new art forms and new work."
Verily, there will be much to discover, as this year's Fringe plans to include over 500 local and international artists. In a whirl of theatre, dance, music, visual arts and some performances that are too fringe (a-ha) to properly define, this festival is at once a showcase of the beautiful and of the bizarre, a medley that is sure to tickle audiences with the unexpected.
With a name built off the participation of fans and critics alike, it's apparent that the Fringe truly celebrates equal opportunity, artistic freedom, accessibility and affordability. These stated values have been at the heart of the festival ever since its conception in 1991.
According to MainLine's press release, The Fringe will include three bilingual programs, "Fringe After Dark, nightly collaborative events where the walls between audience and stage are broken down; Fringe Park, a series of free shows at Parc des Ameriques (corner Rachel and St. Laurent); and Fringe A-Z, the bread and butter of the festival, where you'll find over 110 companies that were selected through (a) lottery process. Audiences will experience over 700 performances delivered by artists coming from across Canada and beyond, such as Japan, Australia and the United Kingdom."
This year's L'Apres Fringe: The 13th Hour, will have new hosts, announced as intriguing aliases: Kiki Razzle, Cat Lemiaow and Philip Fairbanks. The 13th hour is Fringe's comedic live talk show, which occurs after the A-Z programming each night.
The following is a list of acts I find personally compelling, which may be of interest to you as well!
Seska Lee presents: Acme Burlesque June 7th at the MainLine Theatre, which promises to "tantalize and tease you with striptease, circus performance and more, all accompanied by an exciting live band." More information here.
Montreal's infamously naughty burlesque troupe Glam Gam will be performing their successful If Looks Can Kill... They Will play, as previously covered by yours truly. It runs from June 8th to June 16th at Cafe Cleopatre. More information here.
Contingency Plan Productions presents Apocalypse Solo, which will run from June 15th to June 23rd at Venue #6: MainLine Theatre. This piece, written and performed by Adrien Benn, and directed by Andre Simoneau, tells the tale of one man struggling for survival in a world eaten by zombies. With a surge of best-selling books like World War Z, The Walking Dead and Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, as well as a slew of hip new zombie films like Norway's Dead Snow and Spain's [REC], it seems we've all been asking ourselves, "Would I survive a zombie apocalypse?". Explore the excitement and horror of that question with what ought to be a thoroughly engaging play.
Let's Start a Country! presented by That's Enough Drama!, will be performed at Bain Saint-Michel from June 15th to June 24th. This live experimental comedy show features hilarious local acts Gerard Harris and Asaf Gerchak, who will guide audiences in their creation of laws, a justice system and a national culture, resulting in a brand new country to call their own. I can guarantee this will be a lot of fun! More information here.
Celebrated local actor, writer and director Paul Van Dyck will offer audiences his take on science fiction in his newest play The Harvester. This interesting piece asks the question, "In a future where time can be captured in a bottle, would you choose to live forever if you were the last person on Earth?" It runs from June 16th to June 23rd at Venue #1: Mission Santa Cruz. More information here.
Festival tickets are now available online here, by phone as of June 5th at 514-849-FEST, at the Central Box Office located at Fringe Park as of June 14th or at the venue as of one hour before showtime.
Ticket prices are set by the artists, with a $10 maximum and 100% of the ticket price is returned to the artists. A $2 service fee is added to ticket sales to cover sales taxes.
One may purchase a variety of passes for Fringe A-Z: the Menage-a-Trois Pass (three shows for $28 and a $2 service fee), Gold Pass (six shows for $55 and a $2 service fee), Platinum Pass (10 shows for $85 and a $2 service fee) and the Carte Blanche Pass (unlimited for $250 and a $2 service fee).
More information here.
Photograph of MainLine's chili cook-off by yours truly