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Flocking to the Ottawa Fringe Festival

<p>Gabrielle and Benjamin are newlyweds. On their weddingnight, they examine where their relationship is going and how marriagewill change them while the maid of honour has “vigorous sex” next door.</p>


Gabrielle and Benjamin are newlyweds.


On their wedding night, they examine where their relationship is going and how marriage will change them while the maid of honour has “vigorous sex” next door.


The Wedding Night isn’t the kind of play you’d expect to see in a festival. But then, the Ottawa Fringe Festival is no regular festival.


Back for a 12th year for 10 days in June, the festival features performances that range from traditional to edgy. This year’s festival features 51 acts from eight countries, including South Africa, New Zealand, Chile, Spain and Japan, executive director Kevin Waghorn said at the media launch yesterday.


In his third year in the role, Waghorn has watched the festival grow. “People are taking the Fringe more seriously. They see the Fringe as an opportunity to develop as artists.”


“There’s definitely a buzz going on this year,” said fourth-year participant Sophie Tilgner, who is presenting her play, Making Deals With Gods, at the festival. “It’s gotten so much better.”


There were 104 applications this year, said Waghorn. In the last two years, the number of applications has doubled.


“Because we choose the shows by lottery, anything can be a part of the festival,” said Waghorn. “It gives artists a chance to take chances and get edgy, but there’s also traditional-type theatre. It’s not necessarily alternative.”


“I think what makes it special is the mix of shows,” said Ottawa actress Maysa Haddad, whose role in Brendan McNally’s sketch comedy, Hey, Bartender! — about what goes on in a bar after all the patrons leave — marks her fifth time in the festival.


“You get a variety of independent work that you might not get to see somewhere else.”


 
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