The Fringe is just over a week away now, and as usual there's a good selection of events that either interact with city spaces or are about urban experience. Here's a quick roundup of several that caught my eye.
In the city spaces category there's Baby Where are the Fine Things you Promised Me?, a mixed-genre work by theatrical director and designer Stephen Bain. It's a miniature replica of one of the cottages that didn't survive the bypass, and it somehow plays host to two performers as well as objects and images. It will also move about the city and change from day to day, so you'll have to keep your eyes open. If you prefer the greener spaces, then Lovers of Central Park will be for you. A combination of guided walk and immersive theatre, what's billed as "the most romantic show of the fringe" will take you literally up the garden path and surround you with "an amorous montage of lovers from throughout the Park's history". Oo-er, missus!
There's also a couple of art installations that play with urban signage. Public Announcement will take the form of daily posters around the city, offering what's described as "heart thumping thrills from the Pacific past". Cause to Pause takes on an even more transient form of sign, as it invades the scrolling LED lighting on the corner of Tory St and Courtenay Place with unexpected messages. Looks like an inspiration for the waterfront!
Two works of theatre take over hospitality spaces and make the most of their unconventional settings. A Man Walks into a Bar takes place at Good Luck, so as well as getting humour and absurdist metaphysics you'll also be able to drink some excellent (if pricey and slow) cocktails. Hotel also does what it says on the tin, as it'll be staged in Room 217 of the Museum Hotel apartments. It promises to be most intimate show on the fringe, since only 12 audience members can fit in the room, but potentially also the slickest, given the look of the website (complete with blog, soundtrack CD, t-shirts and myspace video trailer). According to the site, it "will target the same demographic who enjoy local music and fashion, people who read publications such as Pavement, audiences who listen to music from LOOP Recordings" - a description that will no doubt appeal to some of its potential audience while nauseating others.
Finally, there are two works that deserve a genre of their own: I'll call it "audioflanerie". Soundmarks is a radio work by the Sound Nerds, consisting of one-minute "audio snapshots" recorded around the city, to be broadcast at 8:45am every weekday on Radio Active 89FM. In contrast, Sounds like Light, Lights like Sound is an interactive audiovisual installation at the back room of Happy, but it also uses recordings of distinctive mechanical sounds and aural spaces around Wellington. As I wrote earlier on The Wellingtonista, the artist ("Frey") sought public input to suggest interesting sounds and locations to become part of the piece, and you can keep up with its progress on his blog.