Today at 6pm I will find my way to the famous Fringe tent and sign in for the launch of the annual Fringe Festival 24 hour playwriting contest. This year it's in the Honest Ed's parking lot. Okay, I'll begin by explaining the contest: the contest launches at the Fringe tent and when you sign in someone gives a little speech about the rules and then announces the five words and/or phrases that must be incorporated into the play. After the launch the contestants are free to go and write the play wherever they want as long as they meet the 24 hour deadline. The play must be handed in at exactly 6 pm the next day otherwise the person is disqualified and the play is not accepted. After that deadline comes part two of the contest. All of the plays are judged blindly by a jury. For the sake of the people who don't know what it means when something is judged blindly I will explain what it means. If something is judged blindly there is no name or any sense of a person's identity on what they have written or created when the judges judge what is in front of them. It's a great concept because it eliminates bias and means that the jury can focus on the creative piece instead of who wrote it or anything that relates to who that person is. The 1st prize winner gets a professional reading of their play on the last day of the festival and the 2nd and 3rd place winners get cash prizes and are announces just before the 1st place winner's play gets a reading, in front of an audience. Normally there are 50-60 participants in the contest so, honestly the chances of being the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd places winner are very low. You have to be realistic and enter not really expecting to win the jury aspect of the contest but aiming to finish the play in that 24 hour deadline. The most satisfaction comes from the following: writing that play and writing it in 24 hours. Honestly what I'm really looking forward to writing new material and the thrill of attempting to meet that 24 hour deadline. Yes, the professional reading would be a dream come true but this will only happen if I'm really, really lucky. Am I excited for the contest? Hell...yes!
I'll finish off by saying the following: dear readers, if you happen to be in Toronto check out the Toronto Fringe festival. The work that I've seen at both Fringe and Summerworks is full of potential and there is something there for everyone. There's one piece that I've heard about and will make a point of checking out. Samuel Beckett's most famous play, Waiting For Godot is occuring underground during the Toronto Fringe Festival, underground. The main characters won't just wait for the time that Beckett got them to wait for Godot in the original script they will keep on waiting for several days. The waiting starts today and the actors alternate in shifts but the audience just sort of shows up whenever they can. What an extraordinary idea for a way to pay tribute to Mr. Samuel Beckett! I know I'll be there. From my experience with acting the actors participating in this are truly embarking an intensive challenge. Happy Fringing to all those who plan to attend the festival.