Fringe with the roof on top

Bohemian Rhapsody is not just an operatic rock song by Queen, it’s also a one-stop fringe festival in Red Deer.

Richard Meen

Bohemian Rhapsody is not just an operatic rock song by Queen, it’s also a one-stop fringe festival in Red Deer.

The latest Ignition Theatre vehicle will feature stage performances, film showings and visual arts displays, all under the same roof at The Matchbox.

“We consider it a multi-disciplinary arts festival,” said artistic director Matt Grue.

Bohemian Rhapsody — the title was chosen because of its artistic associations, said Grue — will offer different lineups of Alberta-written one-act plays and films in each week of its run, from July 8 to 11 and July 15 to 18.

The first week’s program starts with the breaking-out-of-a-rut comedy Good Morning, written by Jeremy Robinson of Red Deer, and will continue with the drama El Dorado. The one-man multi-media play by Joel Crichton, about a man seeking his schizophrenic father, won a five-star rating from critics when it opened recently at Edmonton’s Nextfest.

Calgarian Brent Hirose will stage his dramedy about relationships in the digital age, followed by an hour of films by Red Deer College Motion Picture Arts student Kalon McClarty. One of McClarty’s movies, The Cabin, is about a couple who are forced to confront the truth about their relationship, starring local actors Lynda Adams and Paul Boultbee.

During the course of the three-hour evening program, the audience will spend two intermissions viewing a visual arts display in The Matchbox lobby. Artists Boultbee, Larry Reese, Janet Cole, Michelle Jorgensen and Cindy Ridge will be represented.

The second week of Bohemian Rhapsody will feature an abstract comedy about human interactions, called Serial Society by Albertus Koett of Red Deer, as well as a semi-serious clown show called, Why Do- Fools Fall in Love? by Calgarians Christine Lesiak, Adam Keete and Ana Bado.

A-Grade, by former Red Deer College student Andy Garland, is a futuristic drama about a time when corporations own everyone and everything.

The second-week’s films, including Power Setting High, are by Dustin Clark, also a Red Deer College student.

Grue hopes people will be interested enough to attend both weeks of the festival.

The idea of adding another artsy event to Red Deer’s summer calendar came from Ignition Theatre’s audiences, said Grue. “People kept asking us, ‘When are you going to get a festival going?’ ”

While Bohemian Rhapsody is starting out on a more manageable scale than Calgary and Edmonton’s multi-venued fringe festivals, Grue believes it might evolve into a city-wide event a few years down the road.

“It would be great if plays were running at the Nickle Studio, as well as The Matchbox, and there was music playing at The Velvet Olive and The Vat,” as well as original films showing at various city venues, said Grue. “It could be a big, exciting thing.”

But even in this first, more low-key year, Grue believes Bohemian Rhapsody will satisfy audiences with its broad range of creative offerings.

“What we have here is very special.” Red Deer has so many art galleries and theatrical events that Grue believes it’s time the community showed off its artsy side.

Bohemian Rhapsody is on at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 ($16.50 for students, seniors, and artists) by calling The Matchbox box office at 403-341-6500.

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