Snake Oil at Edmonton Fringe Festival

Snake Oil
OSPAC (8426 Gateway Blvd.) Augustg 15, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23

An interview with Hannah Gibson-Fraser.

Hannah Gibson-Fraser and Zach Council in SNAKE OIL, photos by Sophie Post-Croteau

Hannah Gibson-Fraser and Zach Council in SNAKE OIL, photos by Sophie Post-Croteau

Describe your show in five words.

A dark, funny, twisted, chewy journey

Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description?

Sam Saginaw and his assistant Rabbit are selling you the elixir of eternal life with no. strings. attached, “available by the bottle or by the case… as much as you can stomach”. Their sale takes you on a journey of what it truly means to be a snake oil peddler.

I love dark comedies as do, from what I can tell, a lot of other Edmontonians. Can you tell us a bit about what attracted you to this script?

The first thing that caught my attention, aside from it being a Jayson MacDonald script, was the character Rabbit. She is such a complex individual who is sure to intrigue while you watch her journey. The dynamic between Sam Saginaw and Rabbit was another selling point for me, but you will need to watch to know what I am talking about.

You’re performing in three fringe shows this summer – can you tell us a bit about what that’s been like?

Yes, I have performed in three fringe shows this summer. What a gift. I would have to say it has been one of the most exciting summers of my life from that standpoint. It started out me producing my own show for the first time, Rachel and Zoe, when an opportunity to audition forThe Poe Show came up. When I was offered the part I couldn’t pass it up, it was such an exciting opportunity to work with director Stewart Matthews. Then came the opportunity to audition for Dave Dawson for Snake Oil, and was again pleasantly surprised at the offer to play the role of Rabbit. I couldn’t resist the chance to work on a Jayson MacDonald script. So there I was all of a sudden creating and learning one show, while learning two others. Being so immersed in three entirely different productions, working with three wonderful different directors, and three scripts from completely different writers was so exciting and such a brilliant exercise in creating dynamic and interesting characters.

Starting out doing two shows in one festival was a brilliant learning opportunity, as I was also up against myself for Best of Fest, and got it with The Poe Show. I learned the different ways to market and promote, which gave me an idea of the work that would go in to being on tour. Every city is so unique in it’s production of the Fringe and the guidelines, and as Edmonton will be the fifth city, I am excited to see what that will be like as it will be my biggest Fringe ever.

I am so grateful everyday to have had a summer a pure joy in performance and seeing as many shows as possible. What a gift this has been.

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

Snake Oil is sure to take you on a journey that drives the universe ever outwards to infinity, to eternity. You don’t want to miss this, and you just might get a drop of Snake Oil while you are in the show.

Bonus question: Any names you want to drop who have been involved in your show (Edmonton arts people or otherwise)?

Special thanks to Jayson MacDonald for writing the script, Zach Council for playing Sam Saginaw, Dave Dawson for his direction. Lydia Riding who is in Tales She Tells, for helping us out in Saskatoon between cities. All of the wonderful volunteers who work so hard to make this happen. Everyone!!! Does that cover it? 😉

The 33rd Edmonton International Fringe is August 14 – 24. Get your tickets at

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