Woke up this morning realizing that for the first time in 5 months I do not have a to-do list for the Capital Fringe. Sorry I have dropped the ball with blogging during that time. I was writing a lot - for sure - primarily marketing on Facebook, Constant Contact and other avenues where you reach people. I am touching base here this morning to write the wind-up and to reach back to my favorite groove for writing about stories and life.
Almost rolled over in my warm bed first thing thinking I was getting a free pass on lists. But, cAan't really do that yet. Instead of a "to do list" for the Fringe - I have the to-do list for "winding up'' the Capital Fringe. That will keep me busy for a few days - along with plans for "what comes next".
1. Launched a New story - ideas for The Hello Girls began to percolate nine months ago. When I first heard of them, especially their struggle to gain their "veteran's rights" - which touched on my personal experience in working for the Equal Righits Amendment - I knew they were my people. First came reading, research, talking to people and that always tough job of assimilating the information so that I could structure the story from my point of view. And, learning that I also had to study-up on WWI.
2. Support from family and friends - house concerts where people listened and commented, small tellings at home to the prime "family committee". The "committee" came through on many fronts - from devising marketing strategies, outreach and all the other kinds of back-up you need to launch a new show.
3. Adapting to a new venue at the Fringe and realizing its assets. Used a few props - stool, small rug, and folding table - but kept it simple so that I could handle set-up alone. Kept hand-outs short, sweet and inexpensive.
4. The Hello Girls enjoyed wonderful press - positive reviews - 5 Star Review (Best of the Fringe) from DC Metro Theatre Arts, positive review in the Washington Post - posted on the internet and in the paper, DCBroadway World - called it an important story that needs to be seen, Washington City Paper. I appreciate being in the Fringe for the opportunities for reviews and "coverage" storytelling so seldom receives. This was a great launch for the show.
5. Wonderful audiences - I talked to many before and after the show because they were mostly people I did not know. They told me they came because they were interested in the story, that other fringe goers had recommended it, or that they had seen my work before. And ofcourse, family and a small group of friends. Many with military connections - including one young woman from the Signal Corps. Some teachers and historians. Enough that I confirmed my marketing was reaching the right eyes and ears. Wonderful surprise when an out-of-town storyteller I admire came to hear the show.
6. Had fun. I love the story and enjoy telling it. Six performances in three weeks gave me a chance to adjust and tweak things as I went along. There was an advantage to one week when I told twice back to back, and an advantage the last week with 6 days in between to digest and adjust a couple of things.
I also used those breaks between performances to read, review materials, and seek details that would enrich the story and add to the visual impact through-out.
7. The Hello Girls have a story that I will continue growing and the WWI period has taken hold of my imagination. Being intent on this period of history at the time of the 100 year Anniversary has captured me and I want to learn more and more and more.
8. There are minus-es to a Fringe too, ofcourse. It's costly, especially if you are doing it as a solo-performer. It is a lot of work - making the show, marketing, public relations, looking for help where you need it etc. Every time I "do" a fringe I am grateful to the Washington Women's Art Center where I learned how to put on exhibitions from soup to nuts. Producing a fringe show is a lot the same.
This is the first broad brush on a review of the results of this year's Fringe experience. I wanted to get a first pass down so that I can use it to learn more about what the benefits are. Being a solo-performer has its advantages and its minus-es. Not having a morning after committee to sit over coffee and talk things over is a minus-es for me. And, when I realize how much Jim added to my development and growth as a teller and performer and how much I miss his being a part of this.
The 2014 Capital Fringe has been a grand experience for me - - and a terrific launch for The Hello Girls.
Happy to say I already have plans a-foot -
August TBA House Concert, Bogart, GA.
September 19, 2014 The Hello Girls at the Athenaeum, Alexandria, VA 7p.m. $10
October Date TBA Hagerstown, MD