I've talked a lot about my experiences at both the Hollywood and New York Fringe Festivals this past summer. If you've read with any regularity you already know that both festivals were absolutely incredible experiences for me on a personal level. I left them wanting to go back, wanting to do more, wanting to find the next project that would give me that level of motivation and excitement and give me that artistic and creative high. Like I said if you have read my blog you already know all that.
What hit me last night was the lasting impact of these festivals, particularly the Hollywood Fringe Festival (most likely because I live here) had over the entire small theater community. I think many people left Hollywood Fringe feeling the same way I felt, wanting more, wanting to do it again. In many ways it reminded me of summer camp long ago, when after two or three weeks you had made many new friends and when it came time to say goodbye there were promises to write, to keep in touch, to maybe visit each other during school breaks. Rarely did those things ever happen. Sure we saw each other the next summer and picked up where we left off 12 months ago, but the friendships never went farther than summer camp. And so at the end of Hollywood Fringe I found myself wondering what the outcome would be, would people make that effort to stay in touch, to support each other's creative products or would we get lost in our own busy creative worlds, forgetting about the actors, writers, producers we met over the summer, would we be able to go farther than just Fringe?
It's been nearly six months since Hollywood Fringe and what hit me last night (while at a show produced by Coeurage Theater, a company we met at Fringe) was how unlike the summer camp experience Fringe turned out to be. For those who made the effort Hollywood Fringe was the turning point or the connection that many smaller theaters have been looking to find in Los Angeles. It was the moment that many of us realized we are not alone and not only are we not alone, we are not competing with each other, we are allowed to and should be supporting each other. I think many of us realized this is a team effort, we may come from several companies, from all parts of the city, but in order for small theatre in Los Angeles to survive, we need each other.
The organizers of Hollywood Fringe did an amazing job of organizing a festival that brought the Los Angeles theater community together for a little over two weeks last June. It is an incredible testament to them that not only was Hollywood Fringe a successful two week festival, but it succeeded in gathering the small companies in Los Angeles and getting us to talk with each other, to realize we have the same frustrations, the same desires and the same goals and most importantly none of us are alone.
Unlike summer camp those smaller companies have made the effort to stay connected and because of that the Los Angeles small theater scene is becoming stronger. If after only six months scripts are being shared, cross-promotions are being explored and bi-monthly producers meet-ups and breakfasts are planned, I can't wait to see what this community of artists does after a year, two years and then five years of working together.