When chatting with 2013 Fringe Wilmington Festival performer, Andrew Potter, about balancing art festivals, audience reactions, and being the sole writer/producer/director/performer of his one-man show; it is apparent he is accustomed to juggling a few “balls” at once…quite literally! Potter’s compilation, “The Road to High Street” tells the tale of his journey from a San Francisco street juggler, drawing in passerby’s and living off charity, to becoming a world-renowned act, demanding crowds of 500+ each night and earning true financial success to show for it. Although the base of the performance is inspired by his struggles as a rising busker, at the true heart of his story is a universal message of how the emotional struggle of believing in one’s dreams, against all opposition, is the true hurdle. This revelation is especially poignant when it comes to gaining audience investment and acclaim, which he acquired with the Fringe Wilmington Festival two years ago and hopes to continue growing this year.
In talking to Potter as to why Wilmington was an important, and first, stop on the act’s Fringe-based tour, the answer started out simply as ” it was a local gig I could drive to and easily transport all of my video equipment, instruments, and props”, but after interacting with the audience, he mentioned choosing the Fringe Wilmington as his go-to destination for building a following. He stated how the Delaware art scene is a small, yet loyal, group of individuals with whom he has been able to connect and gain support through year after year, which makes this third installment exciting for both promoting himself while creating a wider vessel for his message. With the Wilmington Festival being so young, and many of the local performers still on the rise, Potter’s life as an aspiring street performer-who made it big- has an essence that speaks to and transcends the lingering insecurity that plaques all embodiments of art . For many artists, and for Andrew himself, sometimes the beauty/hardship of one’s art form can be mauled by the simplistic evaluation of the means. He expands on how being a juggler may seem abstract and a highly unusual way of finding personal fulfillment, however what he hopes to achieve with his one-man show, is the idea that his busker street performances were ones of rawness and intimacy that transcended throwing balls/pins in the air. As he explains, it was just “him and the crowd- there was no middle man”, so at the end of the day success came down to a his personal relationship with the audience, hard work, and perseverance which are the key constituents to all important endeavors of art/performance- no matter what they are.
When thinking about this essential message, it makes the multi-media aspects of Potter’s show that much more poignant. From utilizing music, producing video, story-telling, and bantering with the audience; the performance further hones the idea of how “juggling” has led him to success by being able to counter all these elements into one cohesive message for the audience. Also, as he mentions, being a former street performer allows him to make each show a little more personal to the audience; by “just having a conversation with the audience” through interactive dialogue, he has learned how to use this technique to make the story-telling aspects relevant to that unique moment with the audience. It is what most artists strive to accomplish, to have their audiences be more than voyeurs, but instead participants in both the performance and creating the own story themselves.
Moving forward, Potter hopes these performances continue to become more consistent and his fan base continues to grow. As another outlet for elevating his performance message, Potter plans to take “High Street” to the collegiate-level and use his tale as a generational motivator for activating potential and getting more dreams fulfilled. Also, he believes that utilizing a live band for the musical aspects of his show, and creating a more all-encompassing experience, will only add to the excitement/ internalization of what he has to say.
For now, Potter’s One-Man Show, “The Road to High Street” can be seen at the 2013 Wilmington Fringe Festival: Thursday, October 31, 8:00pm | Friday, November 1, 6:00pm | Saturday, November 2, 4:00pm and 8:00pm| Sunday, November 3, 12:00pm. The Venue | 2 East 4th ST. (Lincoln Square Green) Wilmington, DE 19801.
To purchase tickets, buttons, and passes, please call 302-576-3095 or visit http://www.fringewilmingtonde.com/. Tickets are $5 for Single Admission and $25 for All-Access Passes.