Little Pussy was David Jordan’s favourite show at the Edmonton Fringe Festival so he’s excited it’ll be performed at the Vancouver Fringe, which will feature more than 600 theatre performances by 89 artists from Sept. 5 to 15.
The one-man show focuses on John Grady’s accounts of being bullied throughout his life, stories that are beautifully rendered by a gifted storyteller who punctuates his tales with precise movements honed when Grady was a dancer with Ballet B.C., says Jordan, executive director of the Vancouver Fringe Festival.
“It’s the perfect, perfect solo show and it’s a story from the heart,” Jordan said.
Mainstage shows at the Fringe are literally drawn out of a hat, so Jordan describes the offerings as “randomly eclectic.”
Take his other favourite from the Edmonton Fringe, Hockey Night at the Puck and Pickle Pub, an ode to hockey fandom written by Monster Theatre’s Ryan Gladstone that depicts two guys watching a gold-medal game between Canada and Russia at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at a bar.
“They play a dozen different characters, and it’s really heartfelt as well, and it’s also really off the cuff and fun,” Jordan said. “Monster Theatre, they’re Fringe darlings.”
Emergent themes at last year’s Vancouver Fringe were war, murder and God. This year, Jordan and his fellow Fringesters have noted connections to prison.
N.O.N.C.E., British slang that refers to pedophiles who are segregated because they face physical abuse from other inmates, features a spoken word poet from the U.K. who based this story on his real-life experiences working in the prison system.
Also based on actual experiences, The Adversary explores how one man dealt with the difficult homeless and addicted people who slept at the inner city church where he worked. Jordan says Victoria’s award-winning comedian Andrew Bailey crafts his monologue with the same flair as Fringe favourite T.J. Dawe, with the help of dramaturgists Britt Small and Jacob Richmond (Ride the Cyclone, Legoland).
Jordan has heard great things about Threads, a true story told by the daughter of a heavily pregnant American woman who had to escape from Vietnam in 1968, and Fools for Love, a clown rom-com.
The Vancouver Fringe returns to the Cultch this year and for the first time features shows at SFU Woodward’s. It includes a longer run of Fringe picks, one of which is Jake’s Gift, about a Canadian Second World War veteran’s reluctance to return to Normandy for the 60th anniversary of D-Day.
“I don’t know anybody who’s seen that show who hasn’t cried,” Jordan said.
Vancouver Fringe includes site-specific performances on Granville Island and one of them, Dear Life, features actors trained in martial arts who’ve set their show of sibling angst and sword fights at the water park.
Jordan has a hard time imagining why anyone wouldn’t want to check out the festival. “What else are you going to do, really?” he said.
He called up Sturgeon’s Revelation, a quotation derived from science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon who acknowledged that 90 per cent of science fiction is crud, but 90 per cent of everything is crud.
“Ninety per cent of TV is crap but that doesn’t stop us from watching it,” Jordan said. “Why do we need a reason to take a chance here? It’s not a risk. It’s not a financial risk, it’s not a time risk, the shows are an hour long. Just do it. If you don’t like it, forget about it, go see another one. Guarantee if you keep seeing one, you’ll see something that changes your life.”
For more information, see vancouverfringe.com.
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