The Calgary Fringe Festival will feature 14 plays from around the world

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This year, you can attend the Calgary Fringe Festival at one of four Inglewood venues or from the comfort of your own home.

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Michele Gallant, the festival’s executive director and producer, says the hybrid nature of the 16th annual arts festival will allow patrons to choose their own fringe adventure.

“The way the festival is structured, people can go old school and watch a live performance or they can be part of a studio audience for the live stream component, or they can just watch a broadcast in the comfort of their own home.”

There are 14 shows taking part in the festival and they will be presented in two halls inside the Lantern Church or the Alexandra Center from July 29 to August 6.

“Each performer has been allocated six slots in their designated venue, but they have also been offered the option of a bonus show in Festival Hall which will be broadcast live to an audience. I like to think of this as the equivalent of a live TV show, as we will have three state-of-the-art cameras filming this performance for the simulcast.

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There will be some familiar faces among the 14 performers at this year’s festival, including Paco Erhard, the German comedian whose shows The 5-Step Guide to Being German and The Honest History of BS have sold out at previous festivals. Erhard’s new show, Worst German Ever, will be performed at the Alexandra Center.

Brooklyn native Martin Dockery took Best of the Fest honors with his show Moonlight After Midnight and also appeared here with his solo shows Delirium and The Dark Fantastic. This year, he’s teamed up with Andrew Broaddus for The Stake Out, a play about two men about a staking of two men who just might stake them. They will perform at the Alexandra Center.

Andrew Broaddus and Martin Dockery in The Stakeout.  Courtesy, Michael Muchnij
Andrew Broaddus and Martin Dockery in The Stakeout. Courtesy, Michael Muchnij .jpg

Calgarian Margaret Dahlberg who performed at the 2019 festival with Love: An Algo-rhythmic Study is back this year with a new solo musical, So This Is Love about online dating. Ricky Gervais used Dahlberg’s song Introspective Inquires on his Netflix show Afterlife. Dahlberg performs in the basement of Lantern Church.

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The Gravity Espresso Coffee and Wine Bar in Inglewood will serve as the fourth livestream location July 29-31 and August 5-6 at 6:15 p.m. when it hosts Calgary improv band FSquared for Whodunnit? An improvised murder mystery. This show will be broadcast live at Festival Hall on August 3 at 7:45 p.m.

There are two special events this year. The first, titled The One Thousand Monkeys Project, will feature local playwrights writing for 24 hours in the lobby of Festival Hall from noon July 31 until noon the next day to see what scenes they can create. Their scenes will be read by local actors in front of a live audience at 5:45 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. on August 1. The playwrights already confirmed for this project are Wendy Froberg, Mackenzie McDonald and Emily Drzymala, Rebecca Orion and Ash Mercia. .

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The Kinkonauts return with a new Late Night Show this year called Gameshow 33, which is a live improvisational game show that will feature members of the improv group as well as guest fringe artists and even audience members. It will run July 29-31 at the Festival Hall at 9:30 p.m. and again on August 5-6.

From August 8-27, Calgary Fringe is offering an on-demand component featuring two plays that can be reserved for viewing at any time. The first is Blindside, an award-winning 60-minute comedy about resilience, empathy and self-acceptance in which Winnipeg artist Stephanie Morin-Robert recalls her harrowing adventures as a young cancer survivor who lost his eye to learn how to wield his new glass eye as a powerful weapon. The second is One Empire, Under God, from New York. It is a two-act dystopian drama about the threat of religious extremism and right-wing populism. It won Best Performance in a Streaming Play at the 2021 Broadway World’s Off-off Broadway Awards.

All festival events can be booked through tickets.calgaryfringe.ca.

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