Code White Theatre‘s Toronto Fringe Festival entry 3 Artists Search for a Festival is a delightful short play, taking its audience to see just what sort of desperation can besets performers in the fifteen minutes before showtime.
The play opens in a rush, as actors Leah Holder and Mandy E. MacLean rush to join their director (Matthew James Hines) at a table in a tent in the alley at Honest Ed’s. Only fifteen minutes remain before the curtain will rise on the next performance of the three’s Fringe show, barely enough time for them to go over the director’s notes scene by scene.
Leah is confident in her achievements, confident enough to help correct–quite possibly overcorrect–a much more nervous Mandy. (“That hand is dead,” Leah tells Mandy when the latter tries to copy her gesture. “It is a dead hand.”) And then, all chaos breaks out before they get to Act 1, Scene 3, when Matthew sees the latest news on his Twitter feed: “Glenn Sumi just tweeted about our show!”
This is a perfect Fringe play. The Toronto Fringe Festival is a celebration of the theatrical arts, but often unspoken in the coverage of this festival is the extent to which stress is a very significant feature. Will a performance be a success? What will happen to performers’ careers if everything doesn’t work out? (“There’s going to be nothing new on my resume since last Fringe!” Mandy cries out in a moment of despair.) This ingenious site-specific performance tackles all this quite nicely, making very good use of its location in the middle of the Honest Ed’s Alley around which all Fringe rotates to literally immerse its audience in the panic.
Performances by all three actors are quite strong. The three actors do a perfect job of portraying a group of three people in a high-stakes situation whose mutual need only barely outpaces their rivalries. From Matthew’s quiet harried leadership to Leah’s fragile confidence to Mandy’s barely-restrained panic, each easily communicates to the audience a different kind of fear.
3 Artists Search for a Festival is a great show. The only reason that there is to panic about this play lies in the fact that there are only a few more performances of Code White Theatre‘s show left. See this fun, smart show while you can.
Friday July 12 – 9:00 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:00 pm
Saturday July 13 – 2:30 pm, 3:00 pm, 3:30 pm
Tickets are PWYC.
Poster provided by the company