Third annual Prague Fringe Festival gets underway

02-06-2004

Prague's third annual fringe theatre festival started on Tuesday. This year's festival has attracted 158 performers from all over the world. The event is organised by Scotsman Steven Gove, who is a veteran of the world renowned Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The Grampian Police Pipe Band, photo: CTKThe Grampian Police Pipe Band, photo: CTK So what possessed him to set up a Fringe Festival here in Prague?

"Well I've got a lot of experience working in the festival in Edinburgh and even in the time that I've lived here I've gone back for the Fringe Festival there. I really missed theatre and I really missed being part of the theatre world, which I was when I was living in Scotland. So a few of us were sitting in a bar in Edinburgh one day and I said 'Hey, what about setting up a Fringe Festival here in Prague?' and they were like 'Yeah, OK...' And then they kind of laughed a little bit but now, 3 years later, here we are..."

Do you think Prague lends itself to a festival of this nature?

"I think so. Prague is already a very cultural place. Of course many people ask 'Why should be there be another festival?' but the Fringe Festival is quite different. We're bringing lots of international work into town over a very short period of time. It's something quite different. It's very international. We've got people coming from Australia and the United States and so on..."

Are there any highlights people should watch out for?

"We've got non-verbal adult puppet theatre coming from Australia, which is being described as a world where puppets meet Pulp Fiction. We've got thirty-one theatre companies presenting interesting work from all over the world. We've got some local flavour also. I don't think you can really miss anything that's of interest to you"

Many of the festival's participants also attended the opening ceremony and were more than willing to give me a taste of what to expect over the coming days.

Is this your first time to the Prague Fringe Festival?

"It certainly is, yes. I'm loving it."

What show are you doing?

"North East Second Avenue"

Can you give us a brief excerpt?

"Sure... [an oral mosaic of Caribbean patois voices follows]"

"I'm the creator and performer of the Rap Canterbury Tales"

What does that involve?

"It basically requires translating a 600-year-old poem into a rap style"

Can you give us an excerpt?

"Alright - this is from the Miller's Tale and it's about a character named Absalon. It goes like this: His name was Absalon and he had this long hair that was blond and brusque so that it shone. His back was not strong but what he lacked in brawn he made up with his passion when he played and practised on his fiddle, dancing drunk in taverns until his cash was gone..."

Prague's Fringe Festival runs until 6 June. Anyone interested in further information can find out more at www.praguefringe.com.

02-06-2004