It’s Wednesday, June 20th, and the 3rd Annual Hollywood Fringe Festival is in swing for only another 4 days. The past two summers I participated in the Fringe with my company Cowboys & Indians. We were a group of BU alumni with Grotowski training that banded together to make some theater. I’m proud to say in 2010 we won the Bitter Lemons Award for Outrageous for Theater. The Wolf Girls was an exciting and engaging piece of theater I am proud to have had a hand in. This summer Cowboys & Indians is on hiatus, so I am volunteering in the box office and behind Bryan’s Bar.
What I loved most about my experience as a participant the last two years is that the Fringe tapped into a community I never knew existed. Suddenly there were thousands of theater artists descended upon L.A., each with an unbridled enthusiasm that was infectious. (I very much agree with Cindy Marie Jenkins, in re: crisis of faith) As the festival grows, building a stronger, larger community & audience for this work, the question becomes “How can the spirit of Fringe continue throughout the year?” The staff sure works hard enough, and there are so many new, bold companies, that Fringe truly has the chance to change the L.A. Theater Scene. Cruise down to Theater Row on Santa Monica Blvd and you’ll see the flurry in action.
The beauty (or tragedy) of the Fringe is that you can only see so many shows. It’s like a Choose Your Own Adventure Book. What are the motives behind the trajectory of the choices of shows you see? Friends? Art? Sex? The Subject? Or did you meet the Director at Fringe Central Station over a beer? It colors each of our experiences unique, and makes the sharing of our opinions and work all the more rich.
Here’s What I’ve Seen so Far:
First Love/Worst Love, a poetic series of impressions, that pulses with the peaks&valleys of love
Diary of a Sociopathic Freakazoid, an absorbing & alarming work
Richard Parker, a contemporary existentialist play with a touch of John Cleese (And you should meet these guys! They’re very charming and speak with Welsh&British accents.)
Making Love Over There, an engaging and thoughtful piece, exploring a true literary romanticism by Lonesome No More Theater
Rise, a new drama with rich characters and honest staging
Hanjo/Left to Tell, two stories of heartbreak, both told with creative & refreshing staging and acting
I heard around Fringe Central Station that each year a theme arises that ties together many of the shows. Within my current hodgepodge of shows, I’d like to nominate LOVE and SURVIVAL. We’ll see what happens by the time Sunday ends.