I suspect that producing a Fringe show is one of those experiences which makes you look back afterwards with serene hindsight at all the things which seemed simple enough from the outset. I can only liken the ordeal to that described by the rather wonderful Fascinating Aida in their tale of attempting to book cheap flights, only to find that there are a million separate application forms, each with individual charges. And yes, I'm sure everything has a name (apparently if you give it a name, like "booking fee" or "congestion charge", it makes it a thing).
However the fact remains that the one constant through the whole experience so far has been the development of the show, which, disregarding minor organisational failures, must still go on. It's hard to say at exactly what point a show becomes 'Fringe-Ready', but it is interesting to observe how our own development process has changed over the years.
Undoubtedly one of the toughest challenges Heretical Productions has faced with this most recent endeavor is a burgeoning attention to the little details. In the old days, most scenes were liberally ad-libbed (sometimes to the point of being semi-improvised) and the general framework of knowing where a scene needed to go and who needed to end up dead (or, perhaps more critically, not dead) was usually sufficient for the cohesive flow of a piece. In recent years however, with the new practice of breaking down show footage scene by scene and the valuable experience of previous shows taken to Fringe, the editorial eye has become much more critical and allowing a scene to ‘simply progress’ has stopped being an option.
This is not to say that the new material doesn't remain reasonably non-formulaic in its conception. The show is as much the end result of our own anarchical brain-wanderings as it is a devised piece, and that moment when somebody stood up in rehearsals and said “Wait, what if zombies were afraid of polar bears?” was usually the moment when a key plot point or character trait slipped snugly into position like a Rolo into the old-shape Smarties tube. Ideas, characters or even whole plot lines tend to be born of someone’s spur of the moment idea, usually while playing Call of Duty or eating bacon. Sometimes, even stumbled or mis-delivered lines can lead to a new idea or just a different approach to an existing scene (what if all nightclub bouncers spoke like a 19th century gentleman’s gentleman?).
The end result is that The Heist has taken a whole year longer to make Fringe-ready than its predecessors. While we love Fringe dearly and would happily spend eleven of the twelve months a year pottering round at 2AM trying to find that show that handed out free bacon sandwiches, the show is always central to our Fringe visit and we won’t bring it until we love it.