Fringe at 20 Profile: Megan Bridge
Name: Megan Bridge
Type of Artist: Dance, performance
Fringe shows I’ve participated in: In the early 2000’s I co-produced, choreographed, and performed in several shows in the curated Fringe which at that point was application based. I was matched up by the festival with other choreographers and we shared double and triple bills. My wedding was a Fringe show in 2003. When the structure changed in 2004 I was curated into the festival one last time, and then my work wasn’t produced again by the Fringe until 2015, with Dust (and this was not part of the festival). More recently I’ve been involved with Fringe Festival shows as a venue manager of <fidget> space.
First Fringe I attended: 1997 was my first Fringe, I remember nothing except that the cabaret was at a place called Helena’s. The Late Nite Cabaret was always a highlight but I also remember some amazing outdoor theater in the Quarry Street alley, right next to what was then The Quarry Street Café.
First Fringe I participated in: I first participated in the Fringe in 2000, right out of college. I performed two solos, one choreographed by Rennie Harris and one by me. I think the show was just called Triple Bill . . . I was placed on a shared bill with Fleur Frascella, a bellydancer, and Rodney Mason, who was doing a solo show (he was then a Rennie Harris Puremovement dancer, and has gone on to do a lot of great acting stuff including playing Tony Sinclair, the Tanqueray gin guy). The most memorable part of that show was that Rodney, Fleur and I, total strangers to each other till that week, took all our completely different works and wove them together in a seamless program where we cross-faded all our pieces, sharing entrances and exits. That was my first “professional” gig and we got a great review by Merilyn Jackson in the Philly Inky, which called our show the Fringe’s sleeper hit!
The Fringiest show, venue, action, or moment I ever experienced: Well, I think this would have to be our wedding at The Painted Bride in 2003. When Peter Price and I decided to get married, we weren’t at all interested in the traditional trappings of wedding ceremonies or the civil aspects of being legally bound. We were most interested in the community ritual aspect of the wedding, and the performative nature of wedding ceremonies. In retrospect I guess it was kind of crazy, but it made perfect sense to us! It was one show only of course, the Fringe sold tickets, and we bought 100 of them for our invited friends and family. We had music, dance, film, and we created our own rituals to seal the bond. After the kiss, the audience got up and cheered, and we had a little parade, led by bagpipes, down New Street.
Artists I have met or was exposed to in the Fringe who I went on to collaborate with: I met Scott Johnston at the Fringe in the late 90s when he was curating and producing the Late Nite Cabaret. He completely epitomized the Fringe for me then, and still does in many ways despite the fact that he parted ways with the official festival some years back. Scott is a tirelessly dedicated and absolutely fearless performer (and curator, and producer, and filmmaker, and, and, and . . .). I had the fortune of working with him for a year as part of the Peekaboo Revue in 2005-2006, and we’ve been great friends for almost twenty years now!
Fringe notes: On September 11, 2001 we woke up to the terrible news about the 9/11 attacks. We walked around in a fog all day, and in the evening we gathered with a bunch of artists at the Late Nite Cabaret. Fergie was at the bar I think, and everyone passed the mike around for a cathartic communal performance. It was so sad, but so important to be with our community, our family, that day.