As the storm rages for an extended four weeks around Monkswell Manor Guest House, a new company (and when I say new I mean the individual members working together, not the body as a whole) of passionate artists are banding together and pledging their time, their hearts and their mental well-beings to put on a show themselves. They do this for love and for hatred, for wit and for dullness. They do this because, simply, they cannot do anything else; it is everything, and it is nothing to them.
This past Tuesday, was the initial meeting and read of Shakespeare BASH’d‘s upcoming Toronto Fringe staging of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. And it was wonderful. We sat in a boardroom on the fifth floor of the TIFF Bell Lightbox, a boardroom that was altogether too big for us (and this is not saying we are a small or meek cast). We ate, we drank, we met one another and right away we were able to play with one another. I have never had this experience before. First reads with new casts are, in my experience, usually kind of reserved, there’s a little air of caution all around us as we test the waters with one another. Not so with Shakespeare BASH’d. These waters were as warm as a hot-tub’s.
Shakespeare BASH’d’s mandate is one of love, of camaraderie and of that warm embrace of social lubrication.
Now, unlike the Lower Ossington, which is currently housing The Mousetrap, indie-theatre is largely incapable of (i) selling-out their initial run before opening, (ii) being in the position to extend said run by a month, and (iii) be lucky enough to have a producer willing to put up the entirety of the starting capital required to fund a show (even a small one). Now, this is not saying this never happens. I’m just saying when it does, it is a rather rare event. The nature of being independent puts us out in the vast ocean, swimming furiously amongst hundreds, if not thousands of others trying to do very similar things. The advancements of the age we live in have done a tremendous amount for the arts. Crowd-sourcing has become a powerful tool that gives the user, the patron complete control over what they want, how they want to experience it, and how they can help produce more and more of it.
With that said, Shakespeare BASH’d has set up an indiegogo campaign to support Much Ado as we go into rehearsals. As many independent theatres don’t own a building, don’t program a season of 4 to 6 shows, and, therefore, don’t offer the traditional method of support (subscription packages), indiegogo campaigns are an excellent way to show your support for what is sure to be an exciting experience.
If you’re unsure how this fundraising may help, here’s an example: a pledge of $10 is enough to ensure an hour of rehearsal time. And we’re doing Shakespeare here, people, we’ll need / want all the rehearsal time we can get!
So, without saying much more, I ask you to please go and check out the Shakespeare BASH’d indiegogo campaign here. Check out the perks you’ll receive for every level of donation received, some of them are really fun, like a pair of tickets to opening or closing, beer and a fun night out with James Wallis or Rob Kraszewski, posters and more.
If you’ve ever wanted to support some great indie theatre, or the stuff I do, this is the opportunity.
Thanks for reading.
UPDATE: Also, if you need a little more info on this style of fundraising and haven’t seen this yet, check out singer Amanda F***ing Palmer’s TED conference talk called THE ART OF ASKING. It is beautiful.