The tension was palpable in the circular Patrons Room in the Orlando Shakespeare Theater this Monday night. A single folding table was set up at the front of the room and seats were set up in rows for the anxious crowd of performers, producers, directors and avid Fringe fanatics. For those new to the Fringe experience, it is a 13 day festival founded on the concept of offering 100% unjuried (hence the lottery), 100% uncensored and 100% accessible theater, music, dance, art and madness to all types and ages, where 100% of the box office ticket sales go directly back to the artists. The longest running U.S. Fringe Festival, the misson of Orlando Fringe is to provide an accessible, affordable outlet that draws diverse elements of the community together and inspires creative excellence through the arts. The 20th Annual Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival takes place May 18-30, 2011 in Orlando Loch Haven Park. Nine ticketed venues are located within Orlando Shakes and Orlando Repertory Theatre, along with three Bring Your Own Venues for unique site-specific performances.
Chasmin Hallyburton sat with her laptop open, ready to record the winners of the lottery. Shannon Lacek was in charge of pulling the winning acts from the bucket which was held by Beth Marshall. Beth held up her cell phone and shouted, "Everyone say hello to Brian Feldman who will be tweeting the results from Palo Alto, California!" Everyone shouted, "Hello, Brian." Once an act was picked from the bucket, Shannon would read the title and then George Wallace would tape the card up on one of the colored poster boards. Each poster board represented a different venue. Some acts drawn from the hat caused massive shouts of delight since performers were in the room. I shouted myself when I heard Dog Powered Robot was going to have its own show! After the lottery was finished, Evan and Christy Miga stopped by to say hello. I expressed how excited I was for them, and then Christy showed me her handbag, and there was Fisher's tiny furry face. Fisher is the dog behind Dog Powered Robot, and he is a rising star!
I went up to the poster boards and wrote down the shows that had been picked. I couldn't read my own writing, so check out Orlando Sentinel Theater Critic Matt Palm's list to start picking the shows you might like to see. So many friends will be performing. Brian Feldman will have an as of yet undisclosed performance in an alternative venue. Jeremy Seghers and Dewey Chaffee, and Voci Dance have shows that remain a mystery. John DiDonna will be directing a dance performance called "Unspoken." Logan Donahoo shouted for joy when "Trash Cinema 101" was picked. I am so happy for everyone who will be scrambling to push the creative envelope in May 2011. I am busy trying to decide which acts I most want to sketch.