A RICH MIX:

This year the Fringe will stage per­for­mances by 50 com­pa­nies at 10 lo­cal venues

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - LORI LITTLETON

Vick­to­ria Adam knew she must be on the stage af­ter see­ing “Death of a Sales­man” per­formed in Lon­don, Eng­land, in her late teens.

“I had seen a lot of mu­si­cal theatre, but that was my first pro­fes­sional show of straight theatre,” she said. “I re­mem­ber the scene at the end, when it’s Willy’s fu­neral. See­ing the ac­tor cry — and her whole body was cry­ing — was so amaz­ing. … It was big and per­sonal and she was able to share it with every­one.”

Adam will stage her one-woman play, “Mid­night Cir­cle,” from July 21 to 23 at the Fac­tory Me­dia Cen­tre as part of the 14th Hamil­ton Fringe Fes­ti­val, run­ning July 20 to 30 in down­town Hamil­ton.

A na­tive of a small north­ern Al­berta town, Adam moved to Toronto to study act­ing, singing and danc­ing at the Ran­dolph Academy for the Per­form­ing Arts. She said she loves the com­mu­nal ex­pe­ri­ence that’s unique to theatre.

“You’re telling a story on­stage and it’s only go­ing to hap­pen that way that night. It can never be ex­actly recre­ated,” she said. “And the same hap­pens with the au­di­ence. It’s a moment in time that can never be recre­ated again, and I think that’s very spe­cial.”

Adam’s foray into writ­ing plays be­gan a few years ago. This is the first time the 30-year-old will per­form her own work, which is about a woman who thinks she’s cursed.

“It will be a lit­tle nerve-rack­ing. As ac­tors, we use oth­ers’ words. I’ve never per­formed my own.”

Adam moved to Hamil­ton four months ago and said she’s ex­cited about the city’s the­atri­cal com­mu­nity.

“The po­ten­tial feels re­ally pos­i­tive and re­ally great,” she said. “I can­not wait to see where I fit my­self into this theatre com­mu­nity.”

Claire Cal­nan, Fringe Fes­ti­val ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, said de­spite its tur­bu­lent his­tory, the fes­ti­val is blos­som­ing and this year boasts about 50 com­pa­nies from Hamil­ton and the sur­round­ing area as well as Brazil, New Zealand and the United States. Or­ga­niz­ers re­ceived 100 en­tries; par­tic­i­pants were se­lected lottery-style dur­ing an open event.

“It’s stress­ful and fun,” Cal­nan said. “It’s the sad­dest party be­cause half (of the guests) are bummed out.”

Co­me­dian Martha Chavez will kick off the fes­ti­val on July 19 at the Lin­coln Alexan­der Cen­tre, with each theatre com­pany pre­sent­ing a 90-sec­ond ex-

cerpt from their show, giv­ing fans an op­por­tu­nity to plot their sched­ules.

A fringe fes­ti­val’s af­ford­abil­ity al­lows artists to take risks, Cal­nan said. The hit TV show “Kim’s Con­ve­nience” was orig­i­nally a play at the 2011 Toronto Fringe Fes­ti­val.

“There are huge costs with pro­duc­ing a show. With the Fringe, there is a par­tic­i­pa­tion fee and then we have group mar­ket­ing, promotion, you get a venue, tech­ni­cians and front of house sup­port,” she said. “A lot of pro­fes­sional theatre peo­ple do shows that are riskier. They try them out in front of an au­di­ence to see if it works … It also gives rise to voices that are marginal­ized by fea­tur­ing them on a larger stage.”

Hamil­ton play­wright Andrew Lee will stage his play, “Sub­way Ex­ten­sion to the Mar­i­ana Trench,” at the Play­ers Guild on July 21 and 22, 24 and 25, and 28 to 30.

A St. Catharines na­tive, Lee moved to Hamil­ton in 2005 when he mar­ried Ka­trine Ray­mond, a mu­sic teacher and free­lance writer. The cou­ple are par­ents to daugh­ters Nora and Iris.

An English teacher at Toronto’s Fa­ther John Red­mond, Lee came to play­writ­ing with the Toronto Fringe Fes­ti­val’s 24 Hour Play Con­test in 2009, where his “The Last Buf­falo” fin­ished sec­ond.

In 2012, he en­tered the same con­test, where par­tic­i­pants are given four el­e­ments and 24 hours to pen a play. Lee got a lemur ball, deep­est trench, zeit­geist and the phrase “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” to work with. His cre­ation, “Sub­way Ex­ten­sion to the Mar­i­ana Trench,” where a man shoots him­self on a busy sub­way car yet no one claims to have seen it hap­pen, took first place.

He ex­panded the piece and re­turned to the Toronto Fringe Fes­ti­val the fol­low­ing year, where it fin­ished sec­ond in the Toronto New Play Con­test. Since then, he’s en­tered the play in other fes­ti­vals, of­ten re­ceiv­ing ac­co­lades. And it’s the 2017 Hamil­ton Fringe New Play Con­test win­ner.

Lee said Hamil­ton is emerg­ing as a se­ri­ous theatre hub.

“When I first (moved) here, it wasn’t quite the same,” he said. “We have Fringe and Frost Bite, and there are a lot of theatre (com­pa­nies) get­ting go­ing … Peo­ple in Toronto are looking at Hamil­ton. Peo­ple are pay­ing at­ten­tion. This is a pretty good place to get no­ticed. Peo­ple can have a good ca­reer do­ing theatre here. We’re at the place in time when things are re­ally get­ting go­ing.”

COUR­TESY PARAPHRASED PRO­DUC­TIONS

“Sub­way Ex­ten­sion to the Mar­i­ana Trench.” Isaac Lloyd, Lind­say Wu, Ed Hee­ley, Arun Varma, Claire Re­naud. The Hamil­ton Fringe Fes­ti­val runs July 20 to 30.

COUR­TESY HEART­BEAT THEATRE PRO­DUC­TIONS

“The Se­cret of Cas­tle Al­pha­bet.” Mark Holmes, Re­becca Sch­nell

COUR­TESY GLASS WALL THEATRE

“For Eden’s” Chelsea Haraburda

LUKE BROWN PHOTO

“Mid­night Cir­cle.” Vick­to­ria Adam

JAMES LORD PHOTO

“Acts of Fic­tion.” Re­bekah Pullen, Sara Laux, Pat Skin­ner

OURTESY SQUIRREL SUIT PRO­DUC­TIONS

‘The ADHD Project.” Car­lyn Rhamey

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