Comment 116533

By TurbineGuy (registered) | Posted February 16, 2016 at 10:09:47

As a regular Fringe festival constant pass holder, an inveterate patron of local theatre (I have attended almost all of Ryan and companys plays), and a Film Festival passholder for a decade, I wish to comment on the poor logistical delivery of the Frost Bitess recent weekend production. My wife and I bought passes for Saturday`s event. We were excited. We like experimental and unusual theatre.

It is obvious that Hamilton Fringe production knew that they had a logistics dilemma using the Cotton Factory for multiple plays due to the multiple levels and steep stairs. This was flagged in the publicity material.

Firstly, all four plays we saw were great. Well worth the time and effort. This comment is not a theatrical critique. Rather it is a complaint about how the ball was dropped on the matter of hallway and stairway use.

For the first play we saw, Liatrop, the elevator was used to deliver the small audience to the correct floor. However, it was not offered to return to the main floor. No, we were directed/ herded into the staircase to climb up!

And for the rest of the evening the elevator was never used - at least in my viewing.

Just the stairs up and down; up and down;up and down.

Yet two volunteers sat outside the elevator (on the third floor) all evening - sitting.

Is this big deal? Yes. My wife, with a temporary leg injury, gave up! She went home early; sore and saddened. It is likely that she will never be willing to attend any such future event in The Cotton Factory.

I do not get it. During the regular Fringe, you know that some of your locations present mobility problems. You address them relatively well.

Yet here at the Cotton Factory, where the problem was explicitly understood, no Fringe staff member seemed to realize the likely hardship being created for your patrons. Patrons are unlikely to challenge staff who are directing them in a particular direction when they are unfamiliar with the wayfinding. We did: for safety.

Since I have been in the CF many times, I knew the physical layout. When the staff tried to get us to walk an inordinate unneeded distance when returning from one play, I short-circuited their directions to protect my wife. They objected. We ignored them.

This not how theatre production of patron safety is supposed to work, is it?

In summary, the Frost Bites was worth attending. But if production supervision does not assure the planned level of patron safety and comfort, then Production has failed. And consequently diminished the value and quality of the theatrical event.

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