Drama, laughter, and a whole lotta ‘Fringe’ in Ottawa

Ana Sofia de la Parra • JUN 24, 2024

(Ana Sofia de la Parra/CHUO)


As Ottawa Fringe Festival comes to an end I want to look back on some of my favourite plays that hit the stage this year in the capital’s renowned theatre festival.

Ottawa Fringe describes itself as a “hub of creativity and expression, showcasing works of art that push the boundaries of traditional theatre.” It’s responsible for providing a platform for emerging and established artists within the theatre industry.

It began two years ago with the hope of providing the space and resources to divulge into the theatre life of Ottawa and provide its audience as well as its contributors with a magnificent festival surrounding drama, writing and performances that one would not typically see within the already established theatre community: providing voices to those who are yearning to be heard.

1-MAN NO-SHOW (Ottawa Fringe Festival)

This year, in Fringe 2024, some of the presented shows were the 1-MAN NO-SHOW by Gordon Neill, Isaac Kessler, stage managed by Nietzsche and produced by ZeekTech. This show combines “Aestheticism with Altheticism,” as per the author’s description and begs the question, what is theatre?

Following it was the show A Little Bit Much, which dives into the ‘dirt’ of life, “filled with ideas, jokes, sex, drugs, travel, hairdressing, dating, marriage, kids, coaching and relentless personal growth.”

Other shows like How Queer, and How to Lose Friends and Irritate People played along with numerous others, but my favourite was In a Café. This performance tells the story of a best-selling actor who conducts social experiments as research for her next novel.

However, in her most recent experiment which seeks to discover the formula for the perfect first date, she encounters a first date with an unforgiving past and an unforgettable self-discovery, making this play self-consciously human and painfully relatable.

A Little Bit Much (Ottawa Fringe Festival)

While the young writers stated that their inspiration came from a painting and their goal is to create art from pre-existing art, this writer seems to think their talent itself is an art to be inspired by. After talking with the authors, both Mariana Gomez and Meadow Agar, known as Vivid Strokes Collective told me that it all started as a class assignment and from a “one-page act, it further developed into a full play.”

After this, Fringe offered The Best of Fest, which is described as “the top-selling show in each lottery venue will give an encore performance.” This year, the shows were The Vexed and The Vigorous, Inescapable, Buysexual, and The White Crocodile.

These shows showcased and portrayed theatre in all kids of ways, they showed passion, talent, creativity, and did what theatre and art are all about: leaving an impression on the audience.

After the shows were presented, a bar was set up with music and food stands at the SAW, which is just a staircase away from LabO – providing a perfect and inclusive after-show hangout spot.

Fringe 2024 was a success with a magnitude of talent and passion displayed. Congratulations to the organizers, performers, staff and volunteers who put it all together to create this event. Theatre should inspire, cause reflections and impacts, which is exactly what Fringe brought to Ottawa this June.