Fearing a successful “Unite the Right” party that may topple the Alberta NDP government in 2019 and wipe out all arts funding, the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is taking drastic steps to keep the event alive.

At the top of the contingency plan list is a move to eliminate current Fringe theatre programming and replace it with mediocre shows suitable for moronic dinner theatre audiences. The outdoor attractions, such as the clowns and jugglers that irritate pedestrian traffic in Old Strathcona every August, will remain. The beer tents, which annually houses faux hipsters and self-absorbed see-and-be-seen patrons, will continue to be the festival’s main attraction.

“It’s such a relief to hear that they’re getting rid of all that theatre stuff,” said one dumpy housewife wearing a Make Alberta Great Again t-shirt.

“I got tired of those so-called actors running around in poofy Shakespeare costumes or those silly trannies clomping around in heels, promoting their shows like they’re the best thing you’ve ever seen. Now we can do what everyone’s supposed to do at the Fringe and that’s drink until you puke. Still, I’m going to miss making fun of all those fairies.”

The programmers at the Edmonton Fringe, the largest festival of its kind in North America, realized that an anti-arts mentality permeating a right-wing government  that may overthrow the current socialists would wipe out the event in two years.

“But then we took a negative and plan to turn it into a positive,” said one director. “Here’s a chance to simply not just placate the stuffy theatre elite and cater to the lowest common denominator. And changing everything to a dinner theatre format was the right fit!”

Unlike its conventional or even experimental counterparts, dinner theatre allows for a lot less expertise in writing and acting by altering a cheesy TV show or movie and making it worse. So far, the Fringe has been flooded with pitches ranging from The Big Bong Theory and Gilligan’s Eyesore to Fuhrer Knows Best, which one programmer is designed to draw Edmonton’s alt-right demographic.

Even though the Fringe set an attendance record for its theatrical lineup last year, programmers were forced to come clean when a Wildrose MLA discovered the number were due to the same 200 people catching each show every night.

All the dinner theatre programs will take place in clubs and restaurants in Old Strathcona, where performers in each production will also have to wait on tables, which was great news for one diner owner.

“Every August, I’d lose a bunch of actors to the Fringe and couldn’t get competent staff, because we all know thespians make for the best waiters and waitresses. Now we’ve got them back where we can totally exploit them this summer.”

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