We are just two weeks away from kicking off the 26th Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival. Today I’d like to introduce you to Peter Michael Marino – founder of his own production company PM2 Entertainment. Peter is a writer, performer, and producer, but he also teaches and leads actors workshops in his home state of New York.
Congrats on making the lottery! What is the title of your production and what venue will you be in? My show is called “Show Up” and will be in the Blue Venue. Wheee!
Can you tell us a little bit about your show? “Show Up” is an improvised solo comedy based on the enlightening, thrilling and challenging real-life experiences of the folks in the audience – who also control the set design and music choices. After writing and memorizing my own solo shows for the last 25 years, I wanted to create a show where I could just show up and make magic happen. The show also delves into my own struggles with social anxiety and depression, but the good news is that the show ends with an on-stage cast party every night!
Please tell me about why you chose to apply for the Orlando Fringe festival. What about Orlando Fringe appeals to you as an artist? I first met the Orlando Fringe team when I was performing in Edinburgh. Michael and George spoke on a World Fringe panel, we had drinks, and I was instantly smitten with their spirited personalities. I knew I had to give the Orlando Fringe a whirl so I submitted my solo show “Desperately Seeking the Exit” and I got in. The following year I was on the waiting list for “Late with Lance!” and got in. I keep submitting and encouraging others to submit because the vibe of the Orlando Fringe is very “personality-oriented” more than “corporate-oriented” which I’ve felt at some other Fringe fests. I know that I will be exposed to a wide range of artistic expression in Orlando and that influences both my work and my artistic spirit. I admire the professionalism and personal attention. The networking opportunities with other artists are also in abundance and the feeling of “family” is real and extends beyond the run of the festival.
Has Orlando Fringe enabled/enhanced your artistic career in any way? If so, how? Well, the theater critics in Orlando really know their stuff and their reviews of my work, while mostly positive, have also influenced the material. Since this fringe is early in the “Fringe cycle,” I’ve adjusted my shows based on the feedback I get in Orlando in preparation for other Fringe fests down the line. The Orlando Fringe audiences are also unique in that they’re open to a wide range of artistic expression. It has also made me a better producer, as I am always inspired by the way the OF festival is run.
How long and in what ways have you been involved with Orlando Fringe? I’ve done two OF fests so far, but as a fellow festival producer, I’ve reached out to both Michael and George and fellow OF performers and producers on a regular basis over the years for professional advice, inspiration and motivation. I enjoy following the year-round events as well!
What piece of advice would you give to a first-time Fringe artist and/or patron? See everything! This advice applies to both artists and audience members. I will admit that it’s more challenging to find an audience for some of us out-of-town artists without an OF track record. I’d suggest that artists observe and learn from other artists about how to promote the show by entrance and exit flyering, and other unique methods of promotion. For the patrons, it’s probably best to create a schedule and to leave gaps to sneak in a last-minute, spontaneous show. Some famous person once said “Do one thing every day that scares you.” I say, take this advice and see something that you think you won’t like or understand or be entertained by. It might scare you to take that one-hour gamble, but you may be surprised, entertained and moved as a result.
Have you performed/produced at any other Fringes? Which ones? Can you tell us a little bit about your experience there? How does Orlando Fringe stand out? Oh, I’ve done Edinburgh four times as both a performer and producer, and I’ve done Fringes in Adelaide, NYC, Philly, Hollywood and Brighton. Each Fringe has its own unique personality and for the most part my experiences have been very positive. One of the benefits of doing any Fringe is knowing that you are part of a family (a crazy one) and that you will see your family members everywhere. I have the Canadian Fringes on my radar! Shameless plug – you should totally put IndyFringe on your radar since that is soon to be George’s new home!
Besides your show for the May festival, what other projects are you involved in? Can you tell us about those? I produce the yearly SOLOCOM festival at The People’s Improv Theater (PIT) in NYC where we present world premiere solo comedies. To date, we have presented over 400 – a few have gone on to Orlando Fringe and others. I also produce other artists’ shows – many of which I find at Fringe festivals. I direct shows in NYC in between teaching solo show comedy classes at The PIT and sketch comedy classes at Pace University.
What’s next for your production company (or you, as an independent artist)? Anything top-secret you can hint about? The next thing is always the next actual thing. When you’re an artist, you never know what that next thing will be and you also know that the next thing is something you’re preparing for months down the line. If I don’t have a “next thing,” I’m not much fun to be around! I am all for next things.
Any last words? Take a chance on “Show Up.” It’s a very different kind of show and is different every night. The audience gets to be a huge part of the show without any actual pressure to be a part of it. Well, except for the spontaneous cast party I have every night. Who doesn’t like a party?!
Peter, we’re so glad you’ll be joining us again this year, and we wish you the best of luck on your run.
If you would like to know more about Peter and his work, check out his website where you will find information him, his upcoming shows, and workshops.
And don’t forget to like Orlando Fringe on Facebook to keep up with our Fringe Spotlight Artist Series and keep up with current events.