Fringe By Numbers: Day One: The Beginning

Today is the day.  We've been looking forward to today with great anticipation, and it has arrived.  There is still a lot to do for all those involved, and I'm not excluded, by any means.  I've already been preparing.  I had to stop by the City Pages offices to pick up my press pass, and I had a lovely chat with my editor.  And now I'm sitting down to write this lovely little column.  But there's so much to do, still.  And so little time to do it.  I am a little worried that I may not get everything done.  Whether I do, or not, the festival begins at 5:30 p.m. today.


My charts are ready.  In fact, you can download today's charts through this link.  Handy, eh?  Now...let me explain how they work.  Essentially, what I'm going to do right now is test them out and take you through a hypothetical version of what the rest of my night could be like.  It's a little bit of role-playing.  So... open up the charts on your computer, or print them out, and grab a d20 (that's a 20-sided die).  That's all you need.  I suppose you could grab a pencil and a pad of paper if you wanted to more fully pretend that you're me.  There are other accouterments that would complete the ensemble, as well, but that's probably going too far.  So?  Got the charts and dice?  Good... so here we go!

Today's charts are 4 pages long.  That's because there are 4 time-slots within which to see a show.  Each page represents a separate time-slot.  "Table 1" is the 5:30 p.m. time slot.  Look at that chart.  Now, roll your die.  On my roll just now, I got a 14.  The number 14 corresponds with the show Reincarnation: Another Chance at Failure by Rampleseed at the U of M Rarig Center's Thrust Stage.  So, I hop in my car and get myself to the Rarig post haste.  I get my ticket.  I sit my but down.  I get out my next chart and roll for my next destination before this first show starts.

I roll for my next show prior to the current one beginning because it gives me a few minutes to figure out how I'm going to get there most effectively.  Okay, so... roll the die.  It's a 12.  That lines up on "Table 2" with Snip, Snap, Snute by Alrighty, Then! at the U of M Rarig Center Proscenium.  Good!  I don't have to run to another building.  I can mingle a bit between shows and chat up other Fringers.  Good thing I brought my MP3 player so I can record what they have to say.  I'll be using that to make my podcasts each night.

So once I'm eventually in the audience for the 2nd show, I roll again.  It's a 2 on "Table 3".  That's Ophelia by Studio Zero at the Interact.  Well, it looks like I'm going to have to travel, and by car.  Interact is sort of near the Jeune Lune.  There's a handy little coffee bar in the same building, so I'll stop there for munchies before the show if traffic isn't too bad.  Sustenance is an important part of a Fringe day.

So three slots are done.  Let's assume I make it okay to the 3rd how.  In that audience I rolled the final time of the day.  This time the die comes up with 19!  That's Delirium for Two at the Red Eye.  Check your charts again, just to make sure.  Yup.  Good.  So that's the last show of the night.

Once all four shows are done, I head to the Bedlam Theater for my first Fringe central experience.  The day is done.  I have a glass of wine, and I then go home and type everything up and shoot it to my editor so that you can read all about it.

So... That's what my fringe day looks like.  Lather, rinse, repeat for each of the days of the Fringe.  Some days have more slots.  Some I won't be able to attend all of them.  Tonight is one of those nights.  Unlike the hypothetical situation above, I actually will only be rolling dice once or twice tonight.  I am currently in rehearsals for a tour I'm going on in late August.  So, I'll see a show in the 5:30 slot, and hopefully in the 10 p.m. slot (cross your fingers for me on that one).  Either way, I'm most certainly going to the Fringe Central afterward.

Oh!  I should explain what happens when I roll a 1 or a 20.  Those are special cases.  In many Role-Playing Games, a role of a 20 on a 20-sided die is called a Critical Hit.  This means that you somehow did something better than you normally would have.  It has some extra bonus just for rolling a 20.  In this case, on these charts, you get the bonus of choosing which show to go to.  If I roll a 20 during any slot, I will choose something I'd otherwise possibly not see.  Now, a roll of a 1 in many Role-Playing games is called a Critical Miss.  You've just botched whatever you were trying to do.  You have fouled up so badly that you are penalized in some way.  In this case, on these charts, that means you take the hour off without any performance.  NO SHOW FOR YOU!  Luckily, that's not all bad.  Rolling a one normally means I get to eat real food during that slot, rather than a Clif Bar between shows.

I just wanted to point out that the above rolls were not the real ones I'll be using today.  It's entirely possible that I'll roll one of them again, but that was just testing.  The real thing starts in a few hours.  Before we get to that point there are a couple of other things I have to write about, but those things will be in other entries.

For now?  A little chaos brought into your world of order... consider me your very own mobile entropy unit:

  • When producing for the Fringe I have taken in anywhere between $400 and $2000 of income from the 5-show runs.  So, to play it safe, I normally budget $1000 for expenses.  I believe this to be in the ball park with most other Fringe shows.  There is one show in this year's Festival that reputedly has a $15,000 budget ... at least according to the numbers they submitted on a grant application recently asking for $7,500 in matching funds for the project.  Yikes and Wow!  Many of the small theatres in town would have a slightly smaller budget than that for a full four-week run during the rest of the year.  That just simply amazes me.
  • I need new tires and new breaks.  I believe that car repairs and wolves are related in some way, as they both travel in packs.
  • Once again, I thank the folks at Hooked on Facts for their Random Trivia Engine: "The U.S. Army accidentally ordered an 82 year supply of freeze-dried tuna salad mix for troops in Europe." -- The important thing to know about this fact is, when?  Did they do this last week?  Did they do this in the 50's?  I mean, if so... they might want to consider reordering soon.  There's probably less than 30  years' worth left.  Mmm, Tuna.
  • Blue, red, green
  • This is the first page that pops up on Google if you type in "button passport design" (without the quotes).
  • Mary did, in fact, have a little lamb.  She had it with a little mint jelly and some fried squash in a red wine reduction.
  • Does anybody really know what time it is?
  • Do these shorts make me look fat?
  • Bicycle


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