Life in Sweden, Review

Gothenburg Fringe Favorites

The Gothenburg Fringe Festival 2018 - The Sea Widow

This blog has been quiet for a while, and that’s because I’ve got a lot going on right now. Hopefully things will calm down in the next few weeks, but for now, I’d like to share about Gothenburg Fringe Festival, the thing that kept me busy last week.

A few weeks back, I saw they were looking for volunteers, so I signed up for it. I joined the Media and Marketing team where I’d later help with the website, and became the primary photographer during the 4 days of the festival.

Being a Fringe photographer means I got the luxury of seeing a lot of performances (spread across 13 venues in the city). While I mostly only saw snippets of the performances before running away to shoot other things, there were a few shows where I had the chance to sit back and enjoy the whole performance.

In those few shows that I got to see, there were 3 performances that left a lasting impression. Bear in mind that this is completely subjective and I might very well be biased, but here it goes.

Cry, Blueberry by Richard Canal

The Gothenburg Fringe Festival 2018 - Cry Blueberry

In a riveting monologue, Richard Canal delivered a story of Isaac Solomon Loew, a Pierrot on a vaudevillian Broadway. In his dressing-room, just before he retires for good, Isaac brings the audience to his past as he tells a gripping story of his dark childhood, addiction, and lost. Behind the mask is someone battling with guilt, regrets, and deep feelings.

Canal performed a great range of emotions flawlessly, keeping me on the edge of my seat for almost the entire time the show was running. The performance was captivating, intense, and powerful, and I was left reeling after he took the last bow and retreated from the stage.

The Pink Hulk by Valerie David

The Gothenburg Fringe Festival 2018 - The Pink Hulk

The Pink Hulk tells the (real) story of a woman who survived cancer twice. In her show, David talked about her own experience when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, which she found a lot harder to deal with than lymphoma. From the loneliness and physical discomfort to her struggle of being confident as a woman, she successfully delivered a personal and raw story that got me hooked. She unapologetically touched upon the topics that are uncomfortable to discuss, yet so true and real for any cancer patients (especially breast cancer).

David told me she didn’t want this to be a pity story that’s only about her. She wanted this story to be encouraging and inspiring for people who are struggling with cancer, or people who know someone in the position she once was.

I can say that she succeeded. I cried, laughed, and smiled during the performance. And more than that, she turned her tragedy into a comedy show, for which I gave her a standing ovation.

The Sea Widow by Stigberg Immersive Theatre

Gothenburg Fringe Festival - The Sea Widow

The Sea Widow is an immersive theater, where the audience was taken on a tour to Gothenburg in the past. As the title suggests, the story revolves around the life of a woman whose fiance died in the sea during the World War I.

The story begins at a ‘pub’ that the audience will visit a few times during the performance. As the story unfolds, the audience would then be taken to the historical Gathenhielmska Huset, where they were encouraged to explore the rooms in the house, interact with the cast, and also to take part in some of the scenes. This in itself was a unique and memorable part of the performance.

Props to all the cast who really knew how to direct the audience and engage with them while staying in character all the time. They made this performance intriguing, compelling, and unforgettable.

My only regret is I didn’t have the chance to see all the performances I wanted to see. With 40+ performers and 13 venues, I really wish I could clone myself and watch everything.

Ah, the joy of the Fringe.

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  • Reply Bama

    I have somehow heard about this festival, albeit very vaguely. From your descriptions it sounds like an event not to be missed for those who happen to be in Gothenburg around this time of the year. David’s story somewhat reminds me of the inspirational stories told at TEDxUbud, which I attended five years ago. Truly one of the most thought-provoking and enriching events I’ve ever attended in my life.

    September 6, 2018 at 12:17 pm
    • Reply Dixiezetha

      It was definitely a great experience, since many of the performances utilized the unique venues in Gothenburg, and used it as a part of their performances. I’ve always loved hearing stories told in any form, and those inspiring and thought-provoking stories usually stay in my mind long after the curtains are closed 😀

      September 12, 2018 at 1:58 pm

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