With the New Orleans Fringe Festival completing its reprise of The Tragical Ballad of Black Bonnet and currently deliberating over this year's applications, I wrote Kristen Evans, co-founder of the festival, for an update on how the applicant field is shaping up. (Read Gambit's feature on last year's inaugural staging here.) She was kind enough to reply:
Wow...what an incredible group of applications. There is drama, puppetry, dance of all types, performance art, aerialist, improv, sketch comedy, opera, multimedia, and much more. Most are completely original shows. We have 40% more than last year! 45% of this year's applicants are from New Orleans, and the rest from all over the country: California, Colorado, Mississippi, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New York, Florida, Georgia and lots of other places. We have some applicants who participated last year but most are completely new to the Fringe. We're really pleased that we have more applicants from other parts of Louisiana, including Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Natchitoches, Prairieville and other places.
Right now, the Fringe panel, composed of local theater artists, is reviewing the applications. They carefully read each application and watch any video, and then they rate it based on two criteria: artistic merit and Fringe factor. Artistic merit includes quality of application, clarity of vision and whether the applicant demonstrated the potential to present a quality production. When rating the applicant's Fringe factor, they ask: Is it weird, wild, fresh and original? Does it make me uncomfortable? confused? aroused? think? cackle out loud? If so, it's got the Fringe Factor.
The panel selects 20 shows, and then 10 shows are chosen by lottery from the remaining applications. Thanks to all of the applicants who put together such fantastic applications, we are looking forward to a great Festival lineup. On August 15th, we will announce the final lineup for the Festival, which will be November 11-15. I can't wait to find out what we'll see in the fall!! We have our 2008 Festival report available online for anybody who wants to learn more about last year: http://www.nofringe.org/New_Orleans_Fringe_2008_Report_V3.pdf
More information is on our Web site: www.nofringe.org.