I was planning to write about my day-to-day experiences at the Toronto Fringe Festival, but I decided to take additional time to further process the adventure. In order to avoid post-project blues, I took some time off to reflect on my accomplishments and things I've learned along the way.
I had no expectations going into this festival. My goal was to get a solid review, meet one person I could link up with next time I return, and hang out after each show. I knew that performing in a place where I didn’t know anyone was a huge risk. I knew that it was possible that people wouldn’t take a chance to see my play because they weren’t familiar with my work. I knew that it would be challenging to convince a theatre critic to come and see my play, but I decided to go anyway because the experience was worth the risk.
I'm proud to say that I received 3 reviews. My play was the top critic pick in Now magazine, I won the first David Seguin Memorial Award, and CBC Radio called me for my first radio interview. I wasn't expecting any of this to happen, but I was prepared and able to graciously and humbly accept the recognition I received. I had an anxiety relapse in the spring and was starting to fall short on some deadlines for the festival. I had to rebuild my mental strength in order to
make it to Toronto.
In life, there will be times when you're given an opportunity and something may happen to prevent you from fulfilling it, but you have to be brave and bold enough to keep going. I met so many audience members who told me they barely made it out to my show because they had anxiety too. Those were people God wanted me to meet; they were the people I'm still thinking about and they are one of the main reasons why it's important for me to continue on this path. I'm creating a new genre of theatre for an audience that has been neglected for far too long.
I often think of the faces of the people who openly shared their struggles with me after my show. I miss taking the street car and eating jerk chicken after midnight. I miss listening to the stories of the Nigerian concierge. I miss the sounds and sights of Kensington Market. Most of all, I miss going to theatre night after night with a new audience. One night, I was performing and the air conditioner broke and water was leaking, but I didn't break character, and I kept going. What if we all just kept going in the midst of an unexpected event. What if nothing could break us or move our spirit?