Ranting With Cyle: ‘On the Fringe After the Fringe’ by Cyle Durkee

Well, that was quite a Fringe! The revelry (drunkeness), the pageantry (drunkeness), and the ecstasy (there were several moments where I could have used some)!! I can’t wait for next year!

I was truly surprised at the caliber of shows this year. I went into several shows expecting strange, freshman efforts and being startled by truly engaging and thoughtful shows. Good job, DC artists!!  Of course there were the abysmal failures also, but, there are some horrific failures in professional theater, too. I won’t mention any names, but there are a lot of theaters out there that seem to think that PR and Marketing are a substitute for artistry and substance.

This is one of the miracles of Fringe: There are more than a hundred shows that go up in a matter of weeks and have almost no budget at all.  And yet, they are effective as theater and effecting as art.  This is such a wonderful forum to explore the intensity of story and the beauty of the creative process. And this year, there was far less ego (which leads to shows that the ensemble think are funny and/or deep, but which no one else in the room understands because it’s just a series of inside jokes {which can be super fun if the person delivering them is amazing and has perfect comic timing [most people don’t]}) than in years past.

So now it’s on to the school year! I am seeing more and more small theater companies pop up after bringing a show to the Fringe. I love the new crop of theaters. I can’t believe that we have the chance to get involved with something today that will eventually become the next Woolly Mammoth, or Signature, or Studio (or that will fold in three years because the artistic directors have a huge fight and burn down the rehearsal space accidentally in the middle of the night {that didn’t actually happen [yet]}).  But, either way, it’s super exciting right now.

I’m half -tempted to go off and make my own theater company. I have been discussing one with my friend Catherine Tripp. We have decided to take the low road (which for me is probably subterranean). This means that our theater company would be called We Did Better Theatre (it has to end in -re because that’s how it’s pronounced when your nose is turned up). We would see shows throughout the year and anything we didn’t like we would schedule for our next season and market it as “better that (fill in the blank) did it!” It’s not bitchy. We are just trying to raise the tone for the city by being evil (it works for political campaigns). And, I don’t know if you know this, but we are, in fact, the arbiters of good taste in this city (back off Peter Marks){he’s glaring at me now, or giving me the stink eye [or the glad eye?]

Cyle Durkee.

So let me just wrap up by saying again: Huzzah! I am constantly amazed at the ability of this town to reinvigorate itself artistically. Keep going, keep generating, keep loving the work that you do and the people who do it with you!  I can’t wait to see what new wonders the coming year will bring!


The reviewers of DC Theater Arts picked their ‘Best of the Fringe’ shows. You can view all 134 Capital Fring Festival reviews here and here. Read the Preview Articles written by The Capital Fringe participants under the Fringe chart here.


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