The show will go on for Scranton Fringe Festival – with a twist.
Entering its sixth year, the Scranton Fringe Festival presents “Fringe Under Glass,” a walking tour that will hit up various live performances across downtown Scranton. The performances will take place Friday, Sept. 25, at 7p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 26, and Sunday, Sept. 27, at 2 and 7p.m. All the performances will happen behind storefront windows with the help of headsets for the stars and the audience.
“For this event, every artistic group will broadcast on a different channel,” said Elizabeth Bohan, festival co-founder and managing director. “The people walking from venue to venue will just change the channel on their headset, and then the people performing behind the glass will transmit to the headsets of the people watching, spaced socially distant outside.”
This lets the performers share their talents with the public while maintaining social distancing and abiding by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for COVID-19.
“All of the people that we have involved are people that are longtime members of our Fringe community and people that we knew would follow the rules of safety,” Bohan said. “It’s really the most important thing for this whole project. We want to do a big, fun Fringe-y event, but we have to keep it safe. That’s our No. 1 concern.”
Headsets will undergo a double sanitation process – sanitary wipes followed by UV light technology – after each use. The festival will provide chairs for people who do not want to stand, and those, too, will be sanitized after each show. Extra personal protective equipment will be provided as well.
With performances lasting 15 minutes, the festival will run for two hours and have a 15-minute intermission. Performers will include the Black Scranton Project, Gaslight Theatre Company, the Pop Up Studio, Mostly Opera, Simone Daniel and Nicole Nicholas.
Each tour guide will have a group of 10 to 15 people to maintain social distancing. The exact storefronts where performances will happen have not been revealed.
“After purchasing a ticket, the audience will be sent a downtown location (where they will) meet their specific tour guide for the event,” Bohan said. “These starting points will be different, as each group will rotate through the tour in a different order.”
Fewer performances and smaller audiences mean fewer tickets are available. Tickets cost $20 per person or $150 for a private group of 10 and can be purchased at scrantonfringe.org.
While the Fringe focuses on providing a wide range of entertainment to Scranton each September, this year it also worked to support artists during the pandemic. The festival’s emergency fund accumulated over $8,000, which went toward mini grants for area residents whose work COVID-19 affected.
“So many emergency funds popped up to help all of the people in the theater industry that were just completely shut down,” Bohan said. “Many of those grants were life-savers for people.
Other (grants) were very complicated. You had to send in your resume or your tax returns or something that was emotionally taxing to people who were just panicked about paying the rent, and we just decided if you’re telling us you need this money, we’ll give you this money.”
The festival continues to seek sponsorships and donations to increase these stipends.
“While we did give out more than $8,000 in funding, there are still a few people at the end of the list that we didn’t get to,” Bohan said. “And we feel bad about that, so we’re still trying to make that work.”
If you go
What: Scranton Fringe Festival presents “Fringe Under Glass” walking tour with live performances
When: Friday, Sept. 25, 7p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 26, and Sunday, Sept. 27, 2 and 7p.m.
Where: Various downtown Scranton storefronts; meeting place will be revealed after tickets are purchased.
Details: Tickets cost $20 per person or $150 for a private group of 10. For tickets or more information, visit scrantonfringe.org.
Gia Mazur is an award-winning staff writer and beauty obsessive who joined The Times-Tribune’s Lifestyles department in 2015. She’s a product enthusiast who can’t live without an eyelash curler. A proud Virgo, Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk is her go-to. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9127; @gmazurTT