August 9 – 25
At the Present Company, we INCITE ART and CREATE COMMUNITY. By opening this guide, you have made the first step toward being a part of this community. Indeed, you have just become the Present Company. You are now a part of something bigger and better than us, and you have sixteen days to take full advantage of it.
There is something uniquely wonderful about the spirit of FringeNYC. Our patrons talk to each other. Total strangers compare notes on shows they’ve seen. New Yorkers help our international visitors find their way around the Lower East Side. Post-show discussions move from lobbies to local restaurants. People help us sweep the FringeCENTRAL box office in the morning. They stand in line in the heat having stayed up all night crafting an intricate schedule that will allow them to see as much as they can in 16 days. Audience members meet for the first time at FringeCENTRAL and then head off to a small theatre on 4th Street together. Our patrons bring us coffee. Our volunteers are extraordinary. People fly in from all over the country to do a job that runs you ragged for 22 hours per day for a “salary” that amounts to dinner for one at a mid-town restaurant. Everyone comes together to make this incredible event happen. Over the next 16 days, we invite you to be a part of it. We invite you to provide living testimony that the smiling face of a FringeNYC volunteer in the lobby means something. You can put a smile on that volunteer’s face. You can be that volunteer. Come on. Jump in. Gobble up all that is being offered. What better time? What better place?
That’s the spirit of FringeNYC. It’ll creep over you somewhere between Stanton Street and Tompkins Square Park. And you’ll wonder how it all got started. Well I’ll tell you. It started in the heart of a special woman.
If FringeNYC means showing up for long, hot, hard days; if it’s not sleeping; if it means sweaty hugs and great performances; keeping your sense of humor and smiling as you begin an insurmountable task; and if it’s forging ahead because your efforts might mean one more person sees one more emerging artist’s work and that’s more important than sleep or some time off. . . If FringeNYC is all of these things and so much more, then the embodiment of the spirit of FringeNYC is and has always been Nancy Walsh.
Last year Nancy was working a sold out show as the box office volunteer. A group of 150 hot and tired audience members crowded around the small table where she sat. Rather than getting flustered, Nan stood up calmly announced to the sweaty audience that if they could please line up in alphabetical order it would make things a lot easier. She giggled . . . and everyone burst out laughing. That’s FringeNYC. And that’s our Nancy.
One thing we’ve learned around here is that when tough times hit, the best thing to do is to keep doing what you do. This big ol’ festival is what we do. So, welcome to FringeNYC. Welcome to The Present Company. We’re glad you’re here. ‘Cause this one’s for Nan.