IndyFringe: The Crossroads of Theatre

T’was the Great Bard who wrote in As You Like It, “All the world’s a stage.” Well, for 11 days, at least all of Massachusetts Avenue in Indianapolis is.

The heat remains stifling, school is back in session, the State Fair is over and the Cubs are 30+ games over .500 (sorry, had to get that in somewhere)...must mean it’s IndyFringe Festival time! Oh, wait. You didn’t know it was IndyFringe Fest? You don’t even know what IndyFringe Fest IS? Well, well, well, you’ve stumbled upon the correct blog!

You see, IndyFringe is a festival in Indianapolis where, in the span of 11 days, 384 live, hour-long performances take place featuring 64 groups across 8 different venues. Made up of nearly 50% local artists, this festival celebrates theatre that lives on the edge, or FRINGE, if you will. A celebration of the fast, furious, curious, hilarious and delirious, the Indianapolis Fringe Festival is going on now and, lucky for you, there is still time to check it out!

I have participated in IndyFringe twice. My first time was about 10 years ago. I was in high school and wrote and performed a sketch show with my friends called XANTHAS. It was great. Or maybe it wasn’t. That’s not for me to say. But it was an incredibly cool experience as a 17-year-old to be given an entire hour to fill with whatever I thought was funny. Fast-forward to my second and current experience, performing with a killer cast in the original musical, Haul & Oatz: Time Traveling Detectives. (SHAMELESS PLUG: we have two shows left, Friday 8/26 at 7:30 or Sunday 8/28 at 4:30.) While the excitement and silliness is familiar, I can’t believe how much IndyFringe Fest has grown and developed into an efficient, well-planned and popular event since I last participated. It echoes how much Indianapolis has both changed and come into its own in the last decade.

Now, as I walk around Mass. Ave, bothering people to come to my show, I am warmly received by an extremely diverse crowd – retirees looking to laugh, teenagers bumming around the festival hungry for every type of theatre, folks just getting out of work wanting to grab a show with their drinks – and they’re all super friendly and receptive. It’s the kind of Indianapolis I am lucky enough to live in, and one that I hope visitors experience when they come through. Unlike other great events that take place in Indy - GenCon, NCAA tournaments, the Indianapolis 500 - at the IndyFringe Festival everyone is looking to experience something different and connect with something they didn’t know they were looking for. While I may be biased, I think that’s pretty cool. It’s events like this that make Indianapolis a place so many people are happy to call home.