Theatre-shy Haligonians need to get over themselves, according to one Atlantic Fringe Festival actor.
“A lot of people think theatre is silly,” said local improv actor Jamie Bradley. “If you go to see a play for eight dollars, seven dollars — it’s a coffee at Starbucks in some cases, and people feel like they can afford it. Most cases they’re pleasantly surprised.”
Bradley and actor/friend Scott Owen plan to improvise nine completely different shows at Halifax’s 19th annual Atlantic Fringe Festival, which opens Thursday and runs to Sept. 13.
Their play, Vern and Gregory! The Show No One Wanted Them To Give!, tells the story of two washed up Vegas lounge actors who team up to bid farewell to the entertainment biz.
“We’re going just to have a lot of fun,” Bradley said. “We don’t have a lot of really strong messages but I know a lot of other plays do.”
In previous years, the festival has delivered edgy theatre true to its name. Nude actors have taken centre stage. One play even took place in a car as the actors drove around downtown Halifax with the audience in the backseat.
Despite the unique performances actors deliver on stage, Bradley said patrons sometimes don’t view theatre as tangible compared to “a painting you could hang on your wall.”
“Because it’s so ethereal at times,” he said when asked why he thinks theatre isn’t as popular as it could be. “Because theatre is fleeting. You go see a performance and that’s it. And that performance was special for one or two hours. Then it’s gone. Because it’s so intangible, some people tend to be a little biased against it.”
He is quick to point out this statement doesn’t apply to everyone, and hopes more people decide to give live theatre a shot – starting with this month’s festival.
“Take a chance,” he said. “It’s affordable, definitely affordable. It’s a really cheap date.”