Sharjah Fringe festival instills a sense of community through a good laugh
The festival is enabling people from varied backgrounds to find common ground in family-friendly art and entertainment
Sharjah, January 27, 2020:Toddlers, children, university goers, professionals who had just finished their work day, parents and grandparents, were all in the audience to watch famous Australian street entertainer, J-P Koala and other performers, on the banks of the Al Qasba canal.
Pulling out sharp knives, a long leather whip, two medieval Scottish battle axes, a torch and, finally, a cuddly koala toy from his big black suitcase, the comedy circus performer warned the group, “This is not supposed to make sense!”
The audience is getting warmed up as the entertainer introduces his props, “I’m going be juggling these razor sharp machetes. If the kids keep on running on stage, you’ll find out exactly how sharp they are”. Seven minutes into the show, the entertainer has his viewers in splits.
From 6-year-old Saadi who volunteered for an act, to Aziz, a father who brought his two young girls to the show and lent J-P his lighter for the ‘flaming torch’ act – this Sharjah Fringe offering had the mass appeal the festival promises and successfully engaged one and all.
J-P’s powerful display of skill and improvised comedy created a strong community atmosphere with the audience engaging and laughing together, freely sharing reactions and, halfway through the show, even exchanging a word with the stranger standing next to them.
It was surely the audience that created the atmosphere for this Sharjah Fringe act. And it is this unique festival that is offering UAE locals and residents of all age groups a simple, accessible platform of family entertainment to enjoy and benefit from as a community.
30 street performers, including jugglers, magicians, acrobats, mime artists and musicians will be entertaining crowds starting at 4:30 pm every day on the walkway between Al Qasba and Al Majaz Waterfront until 1 February.
Silent Legends stage production from Bulgaria is a must-watch
A 60-minute non-verbal stage production that has made its UAE and Middle East debut at the Sharjah Fringe Festival is a must-watch. Not only is it very appealing visually, offering viewers a combination of quality live performance mixed with projections and animations, which perfectly bring to life the mythical and fantastical elements of the plot, the messages in the story – inspired by Bulgarian myths and folklore – are every bit universal and therefore relatable no matter which part of the world you are from.
The debate around compromising one’s originality or true essence by following societal norms versus living a free life on your own terms, especially for women, is portrayed by a free-spirited mythical female creature living in the wild. Her life takes a 180-degree turn when she falls in love with a mortal man from a village and begins to live a life of compromise, bound by the rules of society she never knew before.
Can different ideas that represent life coexist? Is there possibility of a compromise when these ideas come into contact with each other? These are all questions these Bulgarian legends on stage are asking.
Writer and director, Boian Ivanov, says, “I don’t try to send any messages through my work. My aim is to tell a story and ask questions – in fact, my objective is to bring our culture’s realities to people and ignite questions and discussions.”
With more than 35 ticketed shows, and 30 street shows put on by more than 50 artists from around the world, Sharjah Fringe Festival runs until February 1 at Al Majaz Waterfront, Al Qasba, Al Noor Island and The Flag Island.
Tickets are priced from AED 35 – 50 and can be purchased online at http://www.sharjahfringe.com or from box offices in Al Majaz Waterfront and Al Qasba.