August 18 – 29
Two short years ago, The New York International Fringe Festival was just a giant glimmer in a few wild eyes. The job seemed a statistical impossibility: present 175 shows in 21 theatres over 11 days for a total of over 1200 performances and do this with a volunteer, mostly part-time staff. Many times that first year we thought “so this is why no one has ever tried to pull this off before”. But in the heat and confusion of that first year it became very clear that something wondrous was being born. It is hard to express exactly, but it was something in the way the volunteers started streaming in, graciously doing the most menial of tasks, the way audience members would stay on the street after a performance, vigorously critiquing and comparing the shows they had seen that day, the way artists gathered together and rallied around each other’s work, the way the most difficult and exhausting of labors became a pleasure and an honor to perform.
This festival is still a labor of love. Practically every staff member you will see are volunteers, receiving only a ticket to a show for their time. Many of the actors you will applaud have no agents and will get up tomorrow morning to go to their day jobs. Most of the theatres you will sit in are just managing to keep their doors open in this boom time of real estate and bust time of funding for the arts.
And yet here we are, stronger than ever, with an extraordinary selection of fresh, eclectic, challenging, vibrant works to present. Here we are, two years down the line. And more importantly, here you are.
Welcome. Enjoy. Prepare to be amazed.
It’s Fringe time.
John and Elena