The Orlando Fringe team attended the debut World Fringe Congress with representatives of more than 40 Fringes. The congress was a valuable chance to exchange ideas, Marinaccio said.
"It was eye-opening," he said. "It made me respect the models other Fringes have, but it reaffirmed my belief that what we do is right for us."
Some of the cultural differences were especially shocking to the producer of our local Fringe, which proudly boasts it is uncensored.
"It's impossible to be uncensored in China," Marinaccio said. "There were representatives of three festivals from China. They told us they can't do anything political or overtly sexual. I said, 'That would eliminate my whole Fringe.'"
Meeting reps from other festivals also provided some perspective on a world scale. The Orlando Fringe is the oldest U.S. Fringe and good-sized as American Fringes go.
"Compared to Edinburgh or Adelaide [Australia], we're tiny," Marinaccio said with a laugh. "We're a tiny little festival."
Wallace and Marinaccio also helped establish a Southeastern Fringe Alliance for U.S. festivals. They hope to get close to a dozen festivals to work together.
"Hopefully, it will create a new touring circuit," Marinaccio said. "So an artist can create a show, then do the Canadian circuit one year, then the Southeastern circuit."
With its success, the Orlando Fringe can serve as a model for others.
"We're at a point where we're mentoring the smallest festivals and helping them get on their feet," Marinaccio said.
One of Marinaccio's goals for the six-day trip was to attract more international acts to the Orlando Fringe. He and Wallace staffed an information table at the Edinburgh Fringe headquarters during a "Fringe Fair."
"Artists all day came by," he said. "I think we're going to see a big increase in international applications this year, just based on those conversations."
Marinaccio also took time to see some of the shows — including a trio of Dutch clowns who performed physical comedy in a giant box they assemble themselves.
"It was the Fringiest, most incredible thing I've ever seen," he said.
Prast, who just graduated from Trinity Prep in Winter Park, was equally impressed with shows he saw.
"I saw amazing sketch comedy, and new musicals," he said. "Some were really, really solid."
The school's production of "Candide" got a good response, said Prast, who is now a freshman New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.
"There were 20-30 people for the first show," he said. "But by the end of the run, word had gotten out and we were getting 100-120 people. A lot of young people, but a lot of older people who knew 'Candide.'"
The students also took in shows and classes at Shakespeare's birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon, as well as the Globe Theatre, the reconstruction of Shakespeare's original theater in London.
They saw a traditional staging of "Richard III," in which the female characters are played by men. That wasn't jarring to Prast — but experiencing the show standing up, as the poor did centuries ago, was another thing altogether.
"Three and a half hours of standing," he said. "I was a little sore."
Four years ago, Papin took a student production of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" to the Edinburgh Fringe and Prast was on that trip. This time was more meaningful, he said.
"There was much more for me to notice and appreciate," he said. "I experienced more of the Fringe than I did last time. I went out and talked to people, met actors and producers."
Prast has participated twice in Orlando's Fringe, most recently in "Cannibal! The Musical," and he saw one big similarity between the two fests — the relentless promotion.
"You walk down the street in Edinburgh," he said, "and people are literally throwing fliers at you."