Fr!nge provides alternative theatre

Only at Laurier’s Fr!nge Festival could one see a horror movie, an absurdist one-act play and an a cappella performance — all within a two-hour span.

This past weekend, all of these and more were delivered to small but enthusiastic crowds at Laurier’s Maureen Forrester Recital Hall.

The annual Fr!nge Festival has become a staple source of Laurier talent over the last few years, delivering a wide range of student-written, directed and performed material.
The Cord spoke to the festival’s marketing director, emcee and actress in multiple plays Keegan Chambers about the festival preparation process and balancing student life with the demanding rehearsal schedule.

The writers and directors kick off the process, formulating and scripting their ideas before auditions begin in September.

Talking about the audition process, Chambers explained that Fr!nge doesn’t want to just be dependent on returning performers. “As much as you can know people who acted in stuff last year, you always want fresh talent,” she stated.

In terms of dealing with the extensive practice schedule, Chambers explained, “It’s hard to find a balance between something that you’re really passionate about and making sure you get all your assignments done on time.”

She also noted that the production had to overcome challenges like finding times that everyone in the larger casts could rehearse and missing class to make tech and dress rehearsals.

As marketing director for Fr!nge, Chambers was in charge of advertising this year’s show and stated that one of her main goal was to get the community outside of Laurier involved. She believes that the student-run productions provide a “really cool opportunity” for local Waterloo residents to try something new. “Part of the reason I was drawn to Laurier [was that] I was really intrigued by the fact that there’s so much going on,” said Chambers.

“There’s St. Jacob’s market, all the local shops uptown, there’s such a diversity in the town and there’s so many cool things you can do,” she continued, also noting the alternative arts culture that is nurtured by businesses like Princess Cinema and local craft fairs.
Fr!nge stays true to this tradition, providing an option other than going to Galaxy Cinema to see a blockbuster movie.

Chambers also pointed out that the more controversial pieces, especially from last year’s show, are great indicators of how this generation of students is currently thinking.
Submissions are “not always about trying to make the audience laugh,” explained Chambers, “Sometimes it’s about an expression of the artist.”

With Fr!nge over for the year, hopefully the festival will continue to grow and expand amongst the Waterloo community.

“Personally I think everything went really well. I mean, all of the directors obviously have their ideas of what ‘well’ is,” said Chambers.

“But there’s always things to learn from.”