by Justin Brady
This August, 64 different performing arts groups will take the stage at the IndyFringe Festival over 11 days at 8 different venues. Just take a second to imagine the logistical nightmare of that! Luckily, IndyFringe is in good hands with Tech Director Pat McCarney running the show, ensuring every actor gets on the stage, no light cue is missed, and any random prop you can imagine is firmly in place. Pat shared some insight from his seven years of working with IndyFringe.
How long have you been involved with IndyFringe?
Pat: I came to Indy in 2003 to study theatre at Butler. After graduating in 2007, I started working for a number of different theatres around town and discovered that Indy was a great place to start my career. I first worked for IndyFringe in 2007 as a venue technician, which is the guy who runs lights and sound at each venue. By the next festival in 2008, I was hired as the Technical Director. The TD acts as a liaison between the performers, the festival and the various venues we use each year. Over the years my role has expanded to include overseeing the technical aspects of the year-round IndyFringeBasile Theatre as well as assisting in marketing, social media and other day-to-day operations.
What role does Fringe theatre fill in Indianapolis theatre scene?
Pat:IndyFringe is an incubator for new talent. We offer emerging artists both a creative outlet and financial incentive to live and work in Indy. During the festival, we return 100% of the box office to the performers, and our year round theatre is a low-cost rehearsal and performance space in order to provide a home for new work to develop as well as lower the financial barriers of producing theatre. The other thing we offer is complete artistic freedom - we are un-juried and uncensored.
What shows are you most looking forward to in this year's festival?
Pat:I get asked this a lot, but the truth is that it is really difficult for me to pick favorites. I work with performers for about five months on these shows, so I feel incredibly invested in all of them. That said, we really do have something for everyone.
Any favorite Fringe memories?
Pat:Too many to count. This year will be my 7th festival. As time passes, the shows start to blend together, and the moments that stand out are usually the simple ones. Things like talking shop with performers over drinks, seeing kids in awe at magic shows, and walking down Mass Ave with thousands of other theatre-goers.
What is one piece of advice for a first-time Fringe goer?
Pat: Don't be afraid to take advantage of the festival atmosphere. Talk to performers and other audience members. Find out the shows they are buzzing about. Fringe Festivals provide a great way for you to interact personally with the artists you just saw performing.
What restaurant or bar will we most likely find you in on Mass Ave after a Fringe show?
Pat: I usually wind up at our Beer Tent at the corner of Mass Ave and College. Although part of that is because it is usually on my walking path as I'm going from venue to venue. This year, however, we actually have a different bar scheduled each night as a nightly after-party. You can find the schedule in our program.
After the Fringe festival is over, anything planned that theatre-goers should keep their eyes open for?
Pat: Definitely. We operate a year-round theatre in addition to the festival, and we are pretty much booked solid through the end of 2013. We have brand new shows all the time and a few shows that perform every month. It's another great way for audiences to see great theatre and support artists at the same time.
If you could recast the leads of any movie with local actors, what movie would you choose and who would you cast?
Pat: Anything Christopher Guest made including any of the following actors: Claire Wilcher, Paul Hansen, Eryn Bowser, Michael Davis, Ryan Mullins, Ben Asaykawee, Georgeanna Smith.
IndyFringe runs August 15-25. Maximum ticket price is $10 for all shows. Check the Fringe website for show listings, venues and ticket information.