Friday, July 26, 2013

Some thoughts on the Kansas City Fringe Festival

This week has found me performing in the Kansas City Fringe Festival. For those of you who may not know, a fringe festival is a non-juried arts festival, where acts are selected by lottery. Traditionally, fringe festivals have latitude for every kind of art, from the tame to the outrageous. They are often associated with the outrageous, since acts that might not get into traditional arts festivals or venues have a chance here.

I have been performing my one-woman show, From Terror to Triumph: Overcoming cancer one mile at a time. It merges my experiences as a cancer survivor and slow, fat athlete with two ancient myths, altogether taking a look at identity and survival. It's a fairly draining show to perform, since some of the emotions are still (19 years later!) pretty raw, but it's worth it. While it isn't really all that fringe-y - I don't strip, swear much or cover myself in edibles - it is meaningful to those who have been effected by cancer. Which means almost everyone.

It's been a powerful thing, performing this show twice in a week with the third time this coming Saturday. People have been telling me their own stories of loss and survival. When I go out of the street to hand out fliers, people stop, their faces shift, and I know this means something to them. I am reminded over and over that none of us are unique in our experiences.

My audiences have been small but interested and engaged. I've made people laugh and cry. Maybe I convinced someone that they could make a difference in the world. Kansas City fringe audiences are very generous with their attention. It's been lovely.

I grateful for the opportunity to share this story. I'm especially enjoying the challenge of crafting together over 10 years of my life and ancient myths, making it all somehow applicable to a wide range of people, regardless of their experience with cancer, bikes or me. I am also enjoying revisiting this time of my life. Mostly, I'm enjoying the experience of performing, of connecting with my audiences, of remembering that yes, I am still here.

Next year I hope to perform in the fringe again, likely something quite different, maybe Fairy Tales for Grown-Ups, which is more in keeping with the edgy nature of the fringe. But then again, who knows? By next year I may have a whole new adventure to share with the world.

(c)2013 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

1 comment:

  1. Some day I hope to make it out there to see you perform!


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