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October 13, 2016
Interview: Inside Fringe Encore with Co-Creator Britt Lafield

screen-shot-2016-10-13-at-12-54-20-pmAs Fringe Encore is underway, the program's co-creator Britt Lafield told us about what makes this year special, and how the shows get selected.

What goes into the process of selecting the pieces for Encore?

In selecting the pieces [co-creator Darren Lee Cole] and I start with getting like-minded theatrical professionals to go out and scope out the shows during the New York Fringe and then spending lots and lots of time in theaters seeing everything we can. We look at reviews and audience attendance, but also talk to other audience members about what they have seen and like. Word of mouth is a very strong tool at any Fringe and you just need to know what to listen for. But at the end of the day it is what is on stage that matters. We have shows that are true hits. We have shows that start to gain an audience throughout their FringeNYC run and in many years we have made what we refer to as "Artistic Picks" which are shows that might not have gotten the attendance of the others but is a show we believe is very strong and deserves the chance to gain a wider audience.

What are some of the elements that you loved about this year's crop?

This year we have an amazing line up. But some of my personal favorites, as far as unique elements, are the amazing combination of ping pong and amazing acting in ChipandGus, the incredible team of young theater professionals of The Fall and just the shear uniqueness of The Extraordinary Fall of the Four Legged Woman. It's an accapella musical but that doesn't even begin to scratch the surface with that show. Truly has to be seen to be believed.

Are there any types of shows that are favored over others? Are one person show easier to produce than musicals for example?

It depends on what aspect you are speaking about. Musicals draw bigger audiences. Solo shows are not necessarily easier but are more intimate. Big casts shows have more problems but draw more people as well. We try and get some kind of feel for each show before they are invited because how they have carried themselves during the big festival is important. We also look at the make up of the cast to see what kind of audience outreach we can do to help with sales so a college cast, or a show with an important unique theme always helps. But really at the end of the day if there were a magic formula of how to pick the best shows, I haven't found it yet.

What have been some of your favorite Fringe plays of all time?

After doing this for 11 years this is a hard question to answer. We have had so many incredible shows come through. But some of my favorites are The Fabulous Kane Sisters in Box Office Poison, Krapp 39, The K of D, Powerhouse and PigPen Presents The Nightmare Story.

What are some challenges in getting the word out about the program?

The challenge is always the same. How do you get interest in a series of Fringe shows when FringeNYC has just ended and all the other new theater in the city is starting up again? We are certainly the little ant of the Fall theater scene. But sometimes we actually do get to move the rubber tree plant.

For tickets to the shows visit:

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