IndyFringe has become a phenomenon. And its decade-long journey toward anchoring the eastern edge of Mass Ave as a cultural and civic magnet is buoyantly documented by WFYI public television producer Gary Harrison in a new documentary. If you missed the July 31 premiere at the Downtown IMAX, catch the fast-paced half-hour The Fringe Factor: Ten Years Onstage with IndyFringe on WFYI-1, Aug. 12 at 9 p.m.
Harrison shapes The Fringe Factor as a series of testimonials showing the impact of IndyFringe on the careers and lives of performers. It began as a crapshoot. Would people come to a festival of un-juried acts? Would anyone notice or care? A positive outcome led to season two — and ten years later audiences can enjoy both a hoopla-filled, ten-day August festival, as well as a year-round performance venue.
Harrison’s aim is to show how IndyFringe can change lives. He succeeds nobly through a mix of testimonials from actors, interns, staff, supporters and volunteers. Memories are jogged as Festival clips from years one to nine flash across the screen. The number of returnees to the annual festival speaks to the endurance of some of the acts. But what's most impressive is the way in which hometown companies — the kind of acts booked day-in, day-out at the IndyFringe Theatre — have grown alongside IndyFringe.
IndyFringe executive director Pauline Moffat is described as “the face of the Fringe,” whose tireless efforts inspire others to be part of the action. She presides over an uncensored venue open to everyone willing to take artistic risks.