Basic Witch at the Edmonton Fringe Festival

Anesti Danelis, Kimberely Wells, Arun Kirupananthan, Maya Ciesynska, Zohaib Khan. Photo credit: FomoSapiens Photography

Anesti Danelis, Kimberly Wells, Arun Kirupananthan, Maya Ciesynska,
Zohaib Khan. Photo credit: FomoSapiens Photography

Basic Witch by Anesti Danelis, Arun Kirupananthan, Kimberley Wells, Maya Cieszynska and Zohaib Khan
August 12, 14 – 17, and 19 at the Westbury Theatre
More information:

An interview with Anesti Danelis.

Describe your show in five words.

Pilgrims, witches, absurd and hysterical

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

Basic Witch is a sketch comedy revue that takes place in 1692 Salem Massachusetts. We explore what the daily lives may have been like for the folks during puritan times where absolutely everything was outlawed: from alcohol to harmonized music. Yes, music could not have harmony – it was believed the devil would hide in there. Probably the only time in history where nails on a chalk board may have been considered soothing. Ugh!

Basic Witch takes a satirical approach to the Salem witch trials while acknowledging the tragedy of the time period. What approach did you take to finding the humour in the trials?

Finding the humour in the witch trials was shining a light on what exactly it took to be classified as a witch. We found that, if you were a functioning woman…you would most likely be accused of being a witch. Not being able to financially provide for yourself, being financially independent, having one or more female friends, being old, not being married – there really wasn’t a chance, and in one sketch we showcase a group of woman on death row confessing their “crimes” to each other with a great twist you wont want to miss.

The witch trials have to be the most memorable events of that time period, however, people never really think of what else might have been happening. A majority of our sketches comprise of exploring the everyday lives of the people of Salem while the trials are going on – which gives the show a refreshing variety of scenes and perspectives.

You say Basic Witch explores aspects of human nature. What particularly did you want to explore in this piece? 

We primarily explore how everyday people back then had to constantly rationalize the unknown and were at the constant whim of the religious right. We like to see what rational people did then to deal with everyday life and the lunacy of the witch trials, whilst going about their everyday life – which seemed pretty miserable to be honest. They were promised the world and when they landed in this New World they were thrown into really unfavorable conditions and didn’t get any of the perks they were promised. Talk about a total let down.

This is FomoSapiens’ first year at the Edmonton Fringe – why come out to Edmonton this year?

Edmonton has a special place in the heart of FomoSapiens as one of our members hails from there! Edmonton also happens to have the largest Fringe festival outside of Edinburgh – which we believe really speaks to the people of Edmonton. They totally embrace the Fringe festival and what it does for the performing arts. We honestly couldn’t be more excited to have the ability to participate.

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

YES! We will be performing at the Westbury Theatre and you can find out all our show dates/times on our site

The 35th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is August 11 – 21. Tickets go on sale August 3 at noon and will be available at

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