Interview with Veteran Fringe Fan Brett Mapp
Brett Mapp has been seeing Fringe Festival shows as long as anyone (he attended the very first Philly Fringe in 1997). His annual schedule picks have even attracted press attention! We talked to Brett about his festivalgoing, what he likes about the Fringe, and how he chooses which shows to see.
FringeArts: How long have you been attending Fringe Festivals?
Brett Mapp: From day one of the first festival in Philly. I have also done NYC, Washington DC, Toronto, and Montreal. I am saving Edinburgh for a special occasion like a honeymoon.
FringeArts: How many shows do you see each year?
Brett Mapp: I average 25-30 shows per festival. I have cut back from previous years. At my old job I could take time off and see about 40 shows!
FringeArts: How do you put together your schedule? How do you choose which shows to see?
Brett Mapp: First I pick the curated shows that I want to see, focusing on the ones I think will sell out first. I then pick my favorite performers from twenty-odd years of going to the Fringe: IRC, Tribe of Fools, etc. I always try to see a show at PowerPlant Productions. I love site-specific locations. And I try to pick more dance performances than theater as I feel I don’t see enough dance during the year.
FringeArts: If you’re unfamiliar with an artist what convinces you to attend their show?
Brett Mapp: I see if I know any of the performers in the show: for example if Amanda Schoonover, Keith Conallen, or Jenna Kuerzi are in it, I will add it to my schedule. Then I look at the time and location of the show; I work 9 to 5. Can I run home walk the dog throw some food in my stomach and make it to a 7pm show? Plus I try to see at least one outdoor performance per Fringe Festival and at least one late night show.
FringeArts: How does your partner feel about all your Fringing? How many shows does she join you for?
Brett Mapp: Morgan joins me for about 80% of the shows, it depends if she is in town. She usually has a work conference in September and misses about a week.
FringeArts: What do you love about the Fringe?
Brett Mapp: I love that for almost three weeks the city seems to care about arts and culture and wants to have a shared cultural experience. I love that I get to see international groups that I would never get a chance to see. I love that I get to see something that I will never see again. It’s hard to put into words what makes it so special. Nothing is as magical as a live performance.
I like the ending of Lost where you see Jack staring at the plane flying away, but that scene will always be the same no matter what, while a live performance is always different. I can see a play or dance piece on Friday night and see the same piece on Saturday afternoon and it will be different, each show is magical and only exists for the audience member at that one unique time.
FringeArts: Are you a FringeArts member?
Brett Mapp: Yes and everyone should be.
FringeArts: What do you like about being a member?
Brett Mapp: I love the discount on the shows throughout the year. It’s as if the Fringe Festival is not just in September since FringeArts moved to its location at Race and Columbus.
Save money, get priority access to tickets and seats, and enjoy year-round VIP treatment with a FringeArts membership.