The Montreal Fringe Festival Has Arrived

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

It’s finally summer in Montreal, and the Fringe Festival is returning to take over the town. The festival begins on May 28 and runs until June 17, featuring over 800 performances by more than 500 artists from across the globe. The first Canadian Fringe was realized in 1982 with a desire to create and support accessible, inexpensive, and fun theatre-going. Fringe Festivals across the country remain dedicated to those principals today.

The first Canadian Fringe was realized in 1982 with a desire to create and support accessible, inexpensive, and fun theatre going

Tonight, May 28, at Club Soda, the Fringe Festival kicks off with a night of two-minute teasers that preview the shows that will be playing the festival. The event will be held between 7pm to 10pm and is a great way to begin choosing which of the hundreds of performances you want to check out. If it’s your first time attending the festival, the Executive and Artistic Director of the Fringe, Amy Blackmore, recommends buying a 3-show pass. She writes, “pick a sure bet, a recommended performance and a show at random” to get a good feel for the festival.

Earlier in May during the Rose Festival, an annual event that showcases queer artists and their art, I got to see a preview of Bite Your Tongue, a play produced by Sort Of Productions. Bite Your Tongue is written and performed by two local artists, Sue Ee and Ollie Vee, and is “a feminist comedy about the weird space between your queer self and your family/ancestry”. The piece is relatable, poignant, and extraordinarily funny, all as it parses the complex relationships that many of us have with feminism, queerness, and family. Bite Your Tongue will be playing at the Fringe from June 11 to June 17 at Mission Santa Cruz, and I highly recommend going to see it.

The piece is relatable, poignant, and extraordinarily funny, all as it parses the complex relationships that many of us have with feminism, queerness, and family.

Bite Your Tongue is one of several feminist plays that will be at the Fringe, however, its creators noted that despite there being many other feminist productions in the festival, the Fringe has no official way of recognizing these pieces. Many Fringe artists will therefore be using the hashtag #fringefemme during the shows to spread awareness. Other feminist plays to look out for are Carmilla, a stage adaptation of Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s 19th Century vampire novella set in a Victorian world, featuring burlesque, cabaret, and the exploration of queer sexuality. Messy Blueprints to Sexual Freedom, a comedy in which two women navigate what it means to be sexually free, as well as Linge Sale, Naked Ugly Dancing, and Skipping Ur Mom’s Funeral and Eating Pizza Instead, are additional feminist performance pieces I’ve been recommended. A complete list of performances is available on the official Fringe website. Ticket prices are set by the artists (many of the shows have a pay-what-you-can option), and the events will take place at various theaters and locations across Montreal.

Happy Fringing!

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