I was a Sixth Grade Bigfoot at the Edmonton Fringe Festival

I was a Sixth Grade Bigfoot

Backstage Theatre (83 avenue & Gateway Boulevard) August 14 – 16, 18, 19, 22, 23
More information: heroicsinhotpants.com

Photo credit: Ben Trivett

Photo credit: Ben Trivett

An interview with Cyndi Freeman.

Describe your show in five words.

Monster makes friends with bullies.

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

I was a bullied kid, but honesty I believe almost every one was at one time or another. For me however there was one extreme and very difficult year. The other children created a hoax with me at the center, cast as a monster of mayhem and anti-social behavior. It was all lies, but the teachers were completely hoodwinked. I was seen and treated as a young psychopath.

Years later when I was in high school, I became friends with many of these same children that caused all the trouble. This is the story about that journey. AND the show is also about the legendary Bigfoot monster, as a kid I was obsessed with reading about the monster.

What led to your obsession with bigfoot in the 6th grade?

Reading about Bigfoot when I was a child helped me understand how hoaxes work and what motivates people to create them. Usually they want power. I also really admired Bigfoot hunters who not only seemed to be driven to find the truth, but also they were able to peruse their dreams in the face of the world thinking they were crazy. This struck me as wonderfully heroic. This is of course all in looking back on it as an adult, back then I just thought Bigfoot and Bigfoot hunters were awesome!

By high school you had forgiven your homeroom classmates for their hoax – what inspired you to create this show and share your story?

What inspired me was my best friend from that time looked me up online. The troubles back in sixth grade destroyed our friendship. She was torn between me and other friends, our parents saw how torn up we both were about it and ended the friendship. It was my first heart break. Even when I reconciled with the other kids, she and I never rekindled our friendship. And it always made me sad. When she looked me up it became clear she was equally heartbroken. Possibly even more so. It made me think about what had happened that year and how it effected not just my life but the lives of everyone involved.

It doesn’t sound like you’ve performed in Edmonton before – why did you want to bring this show here and what are you looking forward to about our festival?

I have come to Edmonton to see shows and it was a blast. I have done the Edinburgh Fringe and also the New York International Fringe. But I want to do the festivals in Canada, I have a lot of friends who go on the road in the summer doing the fringe thing and it sounds like such a great time. What I am looking forward to most is being inspired by other artists and being part of what I already know is one big awesome community of gifted folks!

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

I promise you will leave feeling good. The subject mater is about a hard time in my life, but it’s an experience that has informed how I look at the world in very positive ways. The show deals with a troubling subject, why are children so cruel to each other, but the story in the end is life affirming. – For more info and the trailer go to http://www.heroicsinhotpants.com

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

My director Sara Peters is amazing. Just the right light touch of guidance to help me both edit and also to find my authentic voice. She rocks! Also my husband Brad Lawrence has been so wonderfully supportive, this would not have happened without him.

The 34th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is August 13 – 23. Get your tickets at tickets.fringetheatre.ca.

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