#fringebuzz with Joshua Budman of What the Hell Happened to My Patio Furniture?!
by Caleigh Crow
One of the great things about theatre is that we can see situations played out on stage that audience members frequently experience, such as walking out onto your sixteenth floor balcony to discover your furniture has disappeared. That’s happened to everyone, right?
It happened to Joshua Budman last summer. Six chairs and a metal table, wrapped in a tarp. Here today, gone tomorrow. “They just vanished. It could have been the wind, I looked over the railing and didn’t see anything. I had no idea what happened,” he pauses, “I still don’t know.”
There was only one thing left to do: take to Facebook. “Because FRINGE was coming up, I said my next FRINGE show would be called ‘What the Hell Happened to my Patio Furniture’.” He laughs. “A lot of people liked the idea, but I was just joking around.”
However, the idea grew on Joshua. He’s been involved with FRINGE for a few years now, first as an audience member, then as a volunteer, and this year he took the final plunge and became a FRINGE artist.
He earned his stripes as an improviser, taking classes and performing at both Montreal Improv and Theatre Sainte-Catherine. “I’ve been in countless groups and done a lot of different formats with a lot of different people, and I thought for the fringe instead of falling back onto the improv safety net, why not jump out of that and try something different.”
He enlisted the help of friend and colleague Jeff Gandell to create the one-man show about the fate of Joshua’s patio furniture. Joshua says, “The show starts off with my search for what happened for the furniture but then I don’t have time to pursue it because of interactions with characters that keep coming up.”
The cast of characters, all played by Joshua, include: his mother, an older coworker, a snooty salesman, a love interest and her uncle. “Through the script writing process we came up with a whole story that’s entwined with the furniture mystery being an underlying theme,” Joshua says. “ I’m doing my day to day and I start seeing clues along the way.”
His goal with the show is to make people laugh. “It’s going to be a very silly show with a silly concept that I hope will put a smile on a few faces. I want people to leave thinking ‘I had a good time, that was an entertaining hour’.”
At the heart of it all is a message of gratitude. “Don’t take things for granted,” he says, “one day they might disappear.”