The Road to Fringe 2018

Last year, I had intended to document the journey to getting my play The Lost Years ready for the Hamilton Fringe 2017. Unfortunately, I never started the documentation and before I knew it, opening night was upon us. This year, I wanted to do the same thing, but I found I was letting procrastination get the better of me. But with almost two months before the opening of the 2018 Hamilton Fringe, it’s time to get started.

The Road to Fringe began with the decision to put on a show. In previous years, I already had a play written before I submitted an application to the Fringe. In December 2017, I didn’t have a play ready. I didn’t even have an idea. I just had a desire to put on a show. How basic can you get?

I had just completed a Clown workshop with Helen Donnelly and her parting words to the class was “don’t let your clown turns get dusty”. Which meant, keep practising and performing. Putting on a Gallery Show seemed like a perfect opportunity.

Gallery Shows are under 20 minutes long, so they are a good way to test out an idea. The plays of a few of my friends began as Gallery Shows that then got expanded to longer works. Maybe I could do the same with a clown show?

Acting on the decision to put on a show was the next step. Once I submitted the application to the Lottery, I was committed to the idea of it. Although I knew I wanted to put on a clown piece, I knew that if I couldn’t come up with an idea that I liked, I could come up with something. I’m a playwright for goodness sakes!

I was taking a page out of my friend Ryan Sero’s book. Make a commitment before you know exactly what you are doing. Then make sure that you keep that commitment!

A couple of years ago, I collaborated with Ryan on Nevermore, a collection of Edgar Allan Poe stories. Ryan had made the commitment to put on the play, set the date, and then started looking for collaborators. Ultimately, there were three of us: Ryan, myself, and Cady Allen. We got together, developed ideas and wrote the scenes. But the deadline was approaching and we weren’t ready. I figured Ryan would call it off or decide to do a reading instead. No. He told us we were performing the show; but if we didn’t feel comfortable, we could drop out.  If he had to, he would perform the show solo; but he was keeping the commitment.  So, we hunkered down and got the show ready and performed it.

Lesson learned.  Make the commitment and keep the commitment.  Of course, it helps to give yourself enough time to work on the project and get it ready.

I got a spot in the Fringe Lottery.  Now, I just had to figure out what the heck I was going to do…


© 2018 Peter Gruner

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