I am sorry it took so long for me to actually write about my experience with FringeNYC. I am a suburban father and husband. Getting a show in New York was nothing but a distant dream. That being said, when my play Random Us got in, I was surprised and of course elated. We did not have a production company behind us- it was just my small cast and stage crew. At first, we were overwhelmed but the Fringe admin team and volunteers really helped. They were so wonderfully responsive to our questions and understanding of our lack of experience. We ended up having the time of our lives! Random Us had sold out shows and the audience reactions were outstanding. Random Us actually won a producer's award. I can say without hesitation, Fringe changed my life for the better. I am newly inspired and writing more and more- I hope to return to Fringe again someday. Elena and crew- thank you!
The NY Fringe Festival is, I'm sure, impossible to organize to everyone's satisfaction. It's so damn big, and being done on such shoestring resources. However, when I had a serious problem with the venue to which my play, HICK: A LOVE STORY, had been assigned, Elena, the director, took that seriously. I must admit, I was surprised. I expected to receive a "So sorry you're unhappy but we just can't change it" reply. I would have accepted that. We had asked for a venue with a large audience capacity and had been assigned a 50 seat theater. Elena told us the length of our play (2 hours) and the limited dates we could perform had seriously limited where she could place us. We shortened HICK to 1 1/2 hrs and eliminated our restriction on dates available. Elena switched us to a 120 seat theater, where we did very well, got a Fringe Fave award and were invited to be part of the Fringe Encore Series. And, as agonizing as it was to cut a half hour from our precious little baby, it greatly improved the script, and we haven't restored any of the cuts.
As a relative newcomer to the theater and the world of its festivals, I was a bit nervous about producing with an outfit as legendary as the NY International Fringe Festival. But from the moment my play was accepted through production, my ensemble was treated with respect and deference by the festival organizers. I was most struck by their accommodating my request to have our production moved to a more suitable venue after I explained to them why it would be best. Professional, sensitive and sharp, the NYC International Fringe Festival has survived and thrived for so long for a good reason: they are great at what they do and supportive of the creative spirit and instincts of its participating artists.
The entire experience of dealing with the "administration" of the New York Fringe Festival, in which my husband and his physical theater company had come from the other side of the country to perform, was one of the most painful, appalling, disgusting, half-assed bullshit shit storms that he, his company, and I by extension have ever experienced. The New York Fringe administration did NOT read the application fee completely after cashing a very large non-refundable application check, and were flummoxed when the company arrived having been told there would be recourse for the aerial rigging the show would need and being told that the theater was not able to have rigging (which was also bullshit because that space had done it before), were almost cancelled TWICE due to error on the Fringe's part, had to re-block part of their show due to negligence on the part of the Fringe in reading the entire contract, and had to dole out hundreds more dollars to rent equipment to stage their show (IN A FRIGGIN PARKING LOT!), had to re-block the entire beginning of the show due to negligence by the Fringe, and were basically shut down at every turn. They managed to do their show, sell out, get great reviews, and make it better than it was before, with absolutely NO help from the fringe. As a theater performer in this country, I am ashamed to even say I am in the same profession than these inept people. Glad I'm on the other side of the country, and every artist that I am in connection with (which is a lot) will know of the horrible experience that my husband and his theater company had while trying to work with the New York Fringe. Horrible organization!
Appalling experience attempting to attend downtown play. Door was shut in our (and several others) faces two minutes after scheduled performance time. Nonsense excuse about insurance liability was given as it they have different risks that every other theatre that doesn't have this policy. Intentional infliction of emotional distress maybe. Pathetic operation as far as I'm concerned.