New York International Fringe Festival: A Guide for Locals

New York International Fringe Festival: A Guide for Locals

August 10, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Where: Various Locations in Manhattan
Opening: Aug. 12
Closing: Aug. 28
Times: Shows are scheduled from 2:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. weekdays and 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. on weekends.
Price: Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door. Discount passes are available.
Click to download the complete program guide.

Like baseball’s World Series, the New York International Fringe Festival is not quite as international as its name suggests. Though it does present a handful of works from far-flung English-speaking lands, you won’t find, for instance, any Italian, Thai or Lebanese productions in this festival.

However, with 194 shows in 18 theaters and an expected audience of 75,000, there are plenty of interesting performances that hit close to home.

Festival organizers put the Fringe’s vast offerings into groups called “staycations,” which classify works by their themes and content.  The collection “My NYC Story” features 35 eclectic and diverse shows related in some way to the Big Apple.

Here’s a round-up of our picks:

  • The Rubber Room” tells the story of six New York City public school teachers who have been sent to the infamous room on charges of misconduct or incompetence.  This theatrical treatment follows a New Yorker article on rubber rooms in Aug. 2009, and a radio episode on the subject in “This American Life.” Produced by Unless Productions, written by Ariadne Blayde, directed by Daniel Winerman.
  • Break examines the recovery of an NYPD Officer and an FDNY Captain three months after Sept. 11, 2001.  Produced by LouLou Productions and February 29 Films, written by Louise Rozett, directed by Tracy Middendorf.
  • The Apartment: A Play With Four Sides,” deals with housing problems, neighbors and sublets. Written by Sorrel Barnard, Melissa Moran, Lindsay Joy Murphy and David Scott, directed by Adam Blanshay.

The "My NYC Story" series curated by the Fringe Festival organizers is certain to include themes familiar to urban-dwellers. "Sammy Gets Mugged" portrays a robbery from both the perspective of the attacker and the attacked. Photo courtesy of the Fringe Festival.

  • Some works give familiar experiences a new spin, such as “No-Fault: A tale about the Big D in the Big Apple,” a show that tells the story of one New York woman’s experience with divorce. Produced by Carnival Girls, written by Christie Perfetti, directed by Bryn Boice.
  • Sammy Gets Mugged!” examines a mugging from the perspective of both the mugger and the victim, questioning what we choose to remember from life’s scariest moments. Produced by Dan Heching & The Brownstone Project, directed by Noah Himmelstein.
  • Gin and Milk” examines the politics of sex in a redefined one-night stand. Produced by Lucky devil Theater Company, written and directed by Antony Raymond.
  • Adding a magical twist to city life is “Whale Song or: Learning to Live with Mobyphobia,” in which a whale stranded in the Hudson River may be a message from a woman’s dead father. Produced by The Dreamscape Theatre, written by Claire Kiechel, directed by Brad Raimondo.

The all-female hip-hop crew from "When the Sky Breaks 3D" combine dance and 3D technology. Photo courtesy of the Fringe Festival.

  • Banshee,” a modern-day thriller about a mythical Irish harbinger of death that stalks a man who’s trying to turn his life around. Written by Brian C. Petti, directed by Mary Ellen Nelligar.
  • Then there are productions that play with traditional performance styles and new technology, such as “When the Sky Breaks 3D,” a show from all-female Brooklyn hip-hop crew Decadancetheatre, in which old-school hip-hop combines with 3D technology and video projections for an explosive dance performance. Directed by Jennifer Weber.
  • With another all-female cast led by former STOMP performer Yako Miyamoto,  “COBU – Dance like Drumming, Drum like Dancing” takes traditional Japanese Taiko drumming and mixes in funk and hip-hop. Produced by COBU Inc., directed and choreographed by Yako Miyamoto.

Drum meets dance, dance meets drum in former STOMP performer Yaiko Miyamoto's "COBU." Photo courtesy of the Fringe Festival.