The first bluster of fall is being felt this week as students return to town and the Halifax Fringe Festival begins. For the next 11 days (from Sep 1-11, to be exact) the city’s going to be overrun with indie theatre and performance—and with friends you haven’t seen all summer. How to maximize your time for both? Match a friend’s interest to a fringe show and text them, already!
If only knowing where to grab a post-show drink was such an easy decision.
For the friend who just left sublet hell: 1 Bed 1 Bath for the Price of Your Eternal Soul (Utilities Not Included)
War stories about Halifax’s red-hot-and-ready-to-burn-you real estate market can be chased down with this play that bills itself as part divine epic, part absurd reality. The usual apartment qualms—black mold and leaky pipes—become the least of a renter’s worries when they realize their unit also houses a gateway to another world.
Neptune Theatre’s Windsor Studio, Sep 3, 6 and 8, more details and tickets
For your friend that still mourns the closing of Video Difference: Blockbuster Guy
An off-broadway hit about a small-town Florida movie nerd who worked at the mega-chain, Blockbuster Guy is the perfect DVD-era storytelling show for your pal who still has a movie rental club card in their wallet.
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia Lecture Theatre, Sep 3-8, Sep 10, $15, more details and tickets
For your friend who’s acing theatre school: The Chalet
They just wrapped an elective on the works of Noël Coward and can’t quit obsessing over the great English playwright—so you’ll take them to this domestic dramedy (Coward’s favourite genre) to geek out along with them *and* get a laugh in: Heidi Hodgkinson’s Fringe show follows what happens when two couples with little in common have to spend a weekend away in each other’s company.
Neptune Theatre’s Scotiabank Stage, Sep 3-5, Sep 7-8, Sep 11, $10, more details and tickets
For your friend who never forgets their reusable straw: The Fourth R: reduce, reuse, recycle, REVOLUTIONIZE
They’re passionate about climate justice and are always doing their part, in ways both big and small. Show them you see their effort with this dance-based performance aiming to remind us we’re the planet’s only hope.
Neptune Theatre’s Scotiabank Stage, Sep 9-11, $15, more details and tickets
For your friend who’s working on their self-love journey: F*cking Trans Women – a play reading
Zoë Comeau’s play reading—billed as “the first step towards the creation of a fully animated production of love and acceptance”—is a reminder to your pal that healing is a journey in both form (since it’s a production-in-process) and content. As Fringe puts it: “In a world that is fully saturated with the cis-hetero-male gaze, F*cking Trans Women is a rare and refreshing reminder that all bodies are deserving of intimacy, respect, and sexual pleasure…this reading provides audience members an opportunity to come face to face with our own insecurities about intimacy, as well as equipping us with tools to better communicate our needs and desires in our relationships.”
The Bus Stop Theatre, Sep 3-4, Sep 7, $10, more details and tickets
For your friend who’s a superhero nerd *and* a Shakespeare fanatic: Knight of the Bat
Proving that the overlap of this venn diagram is a fat circle, Fringe Fest vet Dan Bray brings this parody: “A super action comedy of Shakespeare proportions,” as the festival bills it.
The Bus Stop Theatre, Sep 1-6, Sep 10-11, $10, more details and tickets
For your friend who’s a true crime fanatic: The Murder of Mary Lane
The real-life, 1899 story of Mary Lane’s murder is the jumping off point for this play, which traces the unfortunate fate of both Lane and her servant, who would receive the death penalty for her employer’s demise. It’ll be the perfect way to save your pal from re-listening to Serial *again*.
Neptune Theatre’s Scotiabank Stage, Sep 2-4, Sep 6-11, $15, more details and tickets
For your friend trying to survive the gig economy: Primal
This immersive, site-specific play doesn’t shy away from its meta side: Just like the fast-shipping online shopping it skewers, Primal can be delivered to your door, unboxing the human cost of convenience that is paid when we order online. Order the play and it’ll arrive to your chosen location within a two-hour window to give a 10-minute performance that’s the perfect thing to chew on while your pal takes a breather from making deliveries of their own
Various locations, Sep 6-9, Pay What You Can, more details and tickets
For your friend who’s seen every episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race: The Real Black Swann: Confessions of America’s First Black Drag Queen
America’s first self-identifying “queen of drag” was the Black, formerly enslaved person named William Dorsey Swann. Here, the trailblazing queer leader is paid tribute to with a true retelling of his life—perfect for the drag fanatics in your circle who need a primer on the art form’s origins.
Neptune Theatre’s Windsor Studio, Sep 1-4, Sep 7, Sep 10-11, $15, more info and tickets
For your friend who can’t get over their toxic crush: Ritual Music to Cure a Lover
Help your friend block that wasteman’s number already and then get thee to this play, which sees a man partake in traditional cures to rid himself of the “sickness” of a forbidden romance with an outcast woman. The family secrets exposed along the way only add to the drama.
The Bus Stop Theatre, Sep 1, Sep 3-6, Sep 8, Sep 10-11, $15, more info and tickets
For your friend who keeps asking you if you’ve got any friends to introduce them to: Sappho's Garden
You don’t know the girl of her dreams or you’d have set them up already, but you can show your friend you understand how she feels by taking her to this solo folk opera based on the fragmented works of Sappho that delves into themes of community and connection.
Neptune Theatre’s Windsor Stage, Sep 3-4, Sep 10-11, $10, more info and tickets
For your friend who gets set up every Shabbat: Singlejoy
They are, to quote Carrie Bradshaw, single and fabulous, exclamation point! But their mom doesn’t see it that way, so every Shabbat dinner is a chance to be fixed up with a new suitor. Help your friend hold on and maybe even see the funny side of the situ with this one-person, autobiographical show “that explores the concept of being single in a Modern Orthodox Jewish family,” as Fringe puts it. Adds the fest: “Grape juice and ‘Challah’ bread are served as playwright Karina Milech guides the audience through a traditional Sabbath dinner. Milech will have you saying ‘LeChayim’ - ‘To Life!’ as she delves into her history with relationships while highlighting her religious upbringing.”
Neptune Theatre’s Imperial Studio, Sep 3-4, Sep 7, Sep 10-11, $15, more info and tickets