Thursday, August 02, 2012

Fringe Top 20 2012 Edition - If You Removed The Gun From My Head...

So, if you removed that hypothetical gun from my head and I could see ten more Fringe shows, what would they be and why?

11 - Studio Alethea Productions - Kafkaesque: A Musical Metamorphosis - Mixed Blood

A musical version of Kafka's Metamorphosis by a writer friend of mine.  It was in development during the year in our writing group and I'm really curious to see how it turned out.  Writer Nathan Schilz has some of the sharpest dramaturgical instincts I've run across in a while.  If anyone can make this freaky hybrid work, he's your guy.

12 - Snikt! Bamf! Thwip! - The Complete Works of William Shatner (abridged) - Rarig Thrust

I could pretend I'm too high brow to admit to wanting to see this, but I'd be telling a huge lie.  Enjoyed their Fringe-For-All preview too much not to see the whole thing.

13 - Rebecca Kling - Storms Beneath Her Skin - Patrick's Cabaret

Her story fascinates me.  That's my reason.   (Update, just saw her at the Out of Towner's showcase.  She's great.  Looks like this show's going to be even better than I originally suspected.)

14 - Michael Venske Presents - Thumbs Up! - Patrick's Cabaret

When this popped up as a last minute addition, I said to myself, "Hey!  I know that guy.  And that script.  I helped dramaturg that script right before he headed off to the DC Fringe with it."  Looks like it did well, and now he's bringing it home.  I never saw how it turned out, so I'm very curious.  The idea behind the odyssey, a man honoring his father's wish to hitchhike cross-country and plant a little tree at the site where his parents first met, is lovely, and the journey itself kind of quirky.

15 - Billy Willy - The Billy Willy Show - HUGE Improv Theater

Here's an example of persistence paying off.  Billy Willy has sent me a couple of emails following up his original email to me and while I've been too swamped to answer all my Fringe emails this year, his resurfacing in my mailbox kept him in my mind.  Plus, gay stand-up comedian/country music fellow?  That combo's just enough to lure me into the theater to see what that looks like in performance.

16 - The Peanut Butter Factory - Joe Dowling’s William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet on the Moon, etc. - Theatre In The Round

For all the reasons I unexpectedly loved their wacky Fringe-For-All preview

17 - Freshwater Theatre - Going Down on the Queen of Minneapolis - Rarig Thrust

For all the reasons I like Freshwater and Ruth Virkus and company and what they do which I mentioned writing up their Fringe-For-All preview.

18 - Jay Gabler - Ivory Tower Burning - Bryant Lake Bowl

His Fringe-For-All preview wasn't necessarily the best advertising, but I'm still really looking forward to seeing how Jay dramatizes his subject. (Oh, and don't confuse this with the Fringe show Ivory Tower - I know, what are the odds, right?)

19 - ITO Productions - Love Labour Loss - Bryant Lake Bowl

Because I read another script recently by the writer Kyle Orf and it was really great - for the first 75 percent of the play.  It fell apart, spectacularly, in the home stretch but man, when it was good, It was really good.  This is a more personal tale, with a beginning middle and end based in reality, so I'm banking on him shaping it very differently from the other script I read, while still having his really distinctive style.

20 - Eat Street Players - Broken Memories - Gremlin Theatre

A young playwright, a scrappy community theater company supporting new writers instead of just rehashing some musty old script by a dead playwright.  I am frequently an easy mark for a pitch like this.  I got fed some background info on this and I wish they'd posted it on the Fringe site so everyone could see it.  Oh heck, I'll post it...

"LaDarrion Williams, a young writer from Arizona, finally had his play selected to be performed.  This is his story about himself and people he knew.  It is difficult to tell your darkest secrets to the whole world, but Ladarrion beautifully described in this Choreopoem all of the details of his Broken Memories.  He seems stronger and more mature after facing his past and writing it for us to perform.  He has so much support and love at home and they will be having a showing of Broken Memories as performed by Eat Street in his home town for everyone to watch.

More generally, about the true struggles teenagers have.  They are not small issues and can lead to death if not talked about and helped.  Broken Memories tells three different sides of a teenage life based on real stories and where no one stepped in to help these teens, but if they would have maybe there would have been a different ending to their stories.  People need to listen to their stories, stand up to make change and "start a riot" so everyone knows about it.

High school is difficult, but these three kids are dealing with their darkest Broken Memories of life at home, with boys, or the treatment they receive daily.  Kevin, Porcia  and Claudine's lives are falling down around them and they starting to spiral out of control.  Their inner furies have physically manifested themselves to push each student to the limits and in the end someone may be pushed over the edge.

A dramatic play with music, Broken Memories weaves instrumental and vocal music underneath movement and words to express the stories of its three protagonists.  An evocative journey.  Originally produced in the Eat Street Players Fresh Bites One Act Festival."

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