It’s that time of year when the articles start coming out about Fringe with picks and how to go about your Fringe experience. I like reading them all. This was a favourite.
And since there are so many, I don’t need to write one – instead, I’m prepping my Fringe bag, because the Toronto Fringe starts TODAY!
I have a new Fringe bag this year, as the one that had been with me through four Fringes just – well, it got me through many things. It’s still a black messenger bag, this one has a picture of my imaginary dog Nitro on it, and here’s what’s usually in it that optimizes my Fringing experiences. What’s in it started with the basics from the Fringe website
- Two Fringe programs – one is mine, one to give away to someone who needs one.
- Water – get a decent sized water bottle and keep it full. Fill ‘er up at drinking fountains, restaurants etc. any chance you get. Dehydration is for chumps.
- Umbrella. Just in case. It also makes a nice sun shade. ETA: A hat. Waiting in line in the sun hatless is no fun.
- Wallet – contains a fiver to get my Tip The Fringe button (do this right off the bat. In fact, help the staff by being a good example and showing the rest of the line how it’s done). Also contains a selection of toonies as I will tip and re-tip the Fringe. Also contains cash for the fringe tent as there is no onsite ATM. Why, you ask? Security reasons. You need a certain level of security to keep a big box of money onsite like that. The more you know.
- Blackberry. I just – there it is. Nothing better than getting a tweet or text about an AMAZING show you HAVE to see, or being the tweeter or texter.
- Sunscreen – I forgot this last year. And the year before. Red is my colour, but not on my skin. I have a nice spray on bottle in a pocket specially made for it.
- Sunglasses and chapstick. ALWAYS. Squinty eyes and chapped lips are not a good look.
- Two hair elastics.
- Medication – don’t forget your inhalers or insulin or whatever else you require and remember to take them when you are supposed to. You do not want your Fringe experience ruined due to illness.
- 2 pens and a small notebook – jot things down, make little drawings etc.
- Business cards – I always have a stack.
- Flyers for the show you are working on.
- Gum or mints or lifesavers. Quick sugar hit.
- A healthy snack. Bring a piece of fruit, or some cut up veggies. Wash down with your water. You cannot live on bar snacks and candy and beer for two weeks. You can try, but it won’t end well. ETA: Also bring some form of protein. Nuts, I guess, if you are not allergic.
- TICKETS! I am a plan ahead Fringer. Most of my shows are booked and there are many I will catch on the fly as well. However, only that day’s tickets are in there. The rest are safely at home. Whatever your Fringe style, your tickets are the truly important part
- YOUR WATCH. You must be on time. CBC time. This is how Fringe works. There are no latecomers. I am sorry you drove in from Ajax/couldn’t find the theatre/got caught in traffic/it was raining etc. I am truly sorry. It’s disappointing, But those are the rules. Do not yell at, swear at, or push the staff. Do not storm by, do not try to shove by. I know it’s on time by your Mickey Mouse watch, but the show is not being called on your Mickey Mouse watch. I am sorry. And quite frankly, other patrons will back up the staff before they back up you. it’s Fringe – it says everywhere there are no latecomers and is one of the few places in our Starbucks society where a rule won’t be bent.
The most graceful acceptance I ever saw of “you’re late” was the woman who dropped her head in disappointment, laid down the flowers she’d brought for a cast member and went to sit and wait in the sunshine.
The least graceful acceptance I ever heard of was the woman who screamed and swore at the FOH staff and shoved one out of the way and stormed into the theatre. I supposed I should say something like, “be sure to pack an open mind and a sense of humour“. Yes, do that too.Am sure I’m forgetting something. What’s in YOUR Fringe bag?