Hamilton Fringe Festival

An 11-day unjuried theatre festival that happens every summer in downtown Hamilton

The Show Must Go On!

Posted by on Jul 19, 2018

Theatre can sometimes be a challenging profession. As it is a LIVE experience – it sometimes means that people go on stage while dealing with all of the ‘slings and arrows’ that life throws at a person. It demands that a person go on stage while sick or caring for ailing loved ones or dealing with personal tragedies or health challenges.

But theatre is also a deeply human profession. And sometimes the show cannot go on…as planned. In these cases, the theatre community can often be found rising up to support one of its members.

This year, the winner of the New Play Contest was a thoughtful, funny, tender, moving work called Superman and Skinny Dan and Bird Boy.

The jury was unanimous in their support of this work, which featured the thrillingly original new voice of Hamilton-based playwright Rex Emerson Jackson.

Rex approached us recently with some concerns about presenting the work this year – while at the same time ensuring us that he wanted to see the work on stage, if possible.

So we reached out to the community and found 5 incredible local performers who volunteered to step into the theatre each night and give voice to Rex’s play.

Below you will find a list of the featured performers. Each of them is reading the play and donating the box office proceeds back to Rex. Come see the play a few times to catch different actors interpreting the piece!

There have been no rehearsals, no tech, no direction. Just gifted actors reading a great script. This is the joy of theatre. We hope you can come and be a part of it too!

Friday July 20 @ 7pm – Shaun Smyth
Saturday July 21 @ 1pm – Mike Rinaldi
Monday July 23 @ 7:30pm – Mike Rinaldi
Tuesday July 24 @ 6:30pm – Rick Roberts
Friday July 27 @ 9:30pm – Sonny Mills
Saturday July 28 @ 5pm – Sonny Mills
Sunday July 29 @ 12pm – Christopher Stanton

Rex wanted to share his thoughts on this experience. He wrote a letter and we are pleased to share that with you:

When I wrote Superman and Skinny Dan and Bird Boy, I wanted to explore lives that don’t often get portrayed on stage. There has been so much backlash in the media against actors of privilege playing roles meant for marginalized communities, and my dream for Bird Boy was to tell the story of disability from the inside. Jeremy, also known as Bird Boy, is autistic. So am I. I used a lot of me while creating him.

Theatre was something I fell into naturally. Stick me in the middle of a party and I’ll probably lock myself in the bathroom. Put on the spot, I don’t know what to say. But hand me a script and put me on stage and I feel more at home there than in the actual world.

In the past few years I have been trying to build a life in theatre for myself, but I can feel the barriers that exist. Networking is a nightmare for me. Parties are not my thing. Even forming a theatre company – just a couple of people with a mutual vision – for some reason is very difficult for me to figure out. I felt limited. I told myself that the only theatre life I could actually manage would have to be one of solo shows and solo productions.

But that’s not true.

Taking on the Fringe is a big job. It’s a big job for a theatre company. I was trying to do it alone because I didn’t know how to ask for help. The theatre industry is truly a community, though. I have been dealing with some intense health problems and when I realized that my health would not be adequate to perform my show, some amazing people stepped up to help. I will not be performing Superman and Skinny Dan and Bird Boy in the Hamilton Fringe, but other people will. When I needed help, the theatre community was there.

I have spent most of my life trying to find “my people”. But now, I’m pretty sure I’ve found them.