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Pearl: Secrets of the Sea headlines Rochester Fringe Festival

by Panagiotis Argitis - Editor-in-Chief
Tue, Sep 17th 2019 10:00 pm
Rochester held its annual Fringe Festival which included 575 shows. `Pearl: Secrets of the Sea` and `Rise Up Lights` happened on Saturday Sept. 14 and Friday Sept. 13 respectively.
Rochester held its annual Fringe Festival which included 575 shows. "Pearl: Secrets of the Sea" and "Rise Up Lights" happened on Saturday Sept. 14 and Friday Sept. 13 respectively.

While the festivities of October are yet to be upon us, Rochester’s annual Fringe Festival brought the spirit of the fall month to life with multicultural arts performances for all surrounding communities. This year’s iteration boasted the most number of shows and is responsible for maintaining its name as one of the grand galas of Rochester, NY. 

In 2018, over 75,000 people from around the world gathered downtown to immerse themselves within the arts. This year, festival officials predict a bigger turnout with hopes of breaking into the 90,000 range.  

Spread throughout 12 days, Rochester’s downtown forms a melting pot of music, theater and attendees who form in the groups of thousands to pick and choose from 575 available shows. The individual shows feature a variety of comedy, visual and family friendly entertainment arts, allowing for an accessible and open festival to all ages and interests. 

This year, Rochester’s Fringe Festival stretched from Gibbs Street to Parcel 5, where headlining shows along with smaller-based performances took form. Local and international creatives were invited to perform and are not restricted by guidelines, allowing all their true colors to shine. 

 Combining a free-flowing festival comprised of hundreds of one-of-a-kind shows and opening the door for all to enjoy is unique to Rochester’s Fringe Fest and what makes it so special.   

“I’m not sure if any other town has something like this,” Visit Rochester employee Maria Pikeangelo said. “Everyone is here, young people, elderly and all from different cultures and nationalities.” 

One of the many headlining shows that took this year’s festival by storm was “Pearl: Secrets of the Sea.” The all inclusive, theatrical mega-sized balloon show was performed by French company Plasticiens Volants and featured giant inflatables accompanied by dramatic lighting and music. 

Similar to a live action film, the floating characters consisted of aquatic species which moved through the Rochester night sky by rope. Members of the Plasticiens Volants helped maneuver the grand-scale floaties who rushed in between the crowd and directed the hovering characters through different scenes of the act. 

Beyond the moving images, music and choreography the act was fully submersive, allowing those who watched the balloons fly over them to interact with and even touch the characters. 

While the act was scheduled to take place on Friday, Sept. 13 at 8 p.m., heavy winds delayed the show until the next day during the same time of its initial opening. Despite the slight setback Plasticiens Volants was able to pull off the act in immaculate style with no hiccups on Saturday. 

As the main characters of the act slowly deflated back down to earth and the night fell deeper into darkness, families, friends and attendees lifted their arms for a grand applause and cheered on as the music died down to call the show’s finale. 

“We come back to Fringe Fest for shows like this,” attendee and Rochester native Robert Grum said. “It’s a great time for all types of folks and I think it has surprised us every year.” 

Performances similar in size and anticipation to “Pearl: Secrets of the Sea,” are still ongoing and will be for the next couple of days, with at least one headliner show set to air every passing day. 

Rochester’s Fringe Fest will close its curtains on Saturday, Sept. 21 to conclude its 12-day stay in the city’s downtown area. Tickets will continue to be sold for headlining shows along with free admission performances for the three days that remain. Ticket orders and showtimes can be found on the festival’s official website at rochesterfringe.com

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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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