Making a set important in a Fringe show is a job
by Benjamin Wert
Theatre of the Beat will be performing 'This Prison Or: He Came Through the Floor' at the Toronto, Winnipeg and Edmonton Fringes. Theatre of the Beat is a traveling theatre troupe that has been performing together since 2011. They just finished a 33-venue tour of 'Forgiven/Forgotten', performing the play from Ontario to Alberta in theatres, churches, high schools, and prisons.
What do most traveling fringe shows have in common? Most have no set, or something small... nothing fancy, just something you can pack in a suitcase and take on the road. Most have a small cast and crew, many are solo operations. You don't want to have to feed too many mouths on fringe bucks and travel can get cramped when you get too many in the van.
It looked cool. It looked really cool.
We're performing 'This Prison: Or He Came Through the Floor.' It's a re-working of a play we performed years ago as a fundraiser - when the idea of putting together a travelling theatre troupe was just a glimmer in our minds. The play didn't need to move, and we had access to lots of wood, so we created a giant set. 9 ft tall and 6 ft wide pieces of wood covered with blackboard paint and chalkboard tallies.
And thus began a long series of failed experiments. It wouldn't work to cut the giant pieces of set down. It wouldn't work to create an elaborate folding wood panel set. It wouldn't work to create some sort of thing with magnets. There were all sorts of things that wouldn't work, and somewhere out there, there was some elusive combination of craft, stuff we had lying around and ingenuity that would snap into place and create our set.
Also at Winnipeg and Edmonton Fringe