Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Plus: Closing party this Sunday...

You've still got time to see some great shows of remarkable performers. Here's a rundown of whom I've already seen and have heard great things about, drawn from a posting I did at The Washington City Paper's audience commentary, more useful than the reviewers' own comments.

Some of the best one-person shows aren’t getting the attention they deserve in this Fringe Festival. I’ve personally seen a few great shows, and have heard good buzz about others. You can see the times and ticket information on the Capital Fringe website or at this full schedule; in most cases, you can walk right in and buy the tickets in cash, and save the $3 processing fee.

There are also strong reviews for some plays, including at Theater J in a drama about Herzl and Sharon and the founding of Israel. As the Washington Post reported yesterday:

David Zellnick's "Sharon/Herzl," a world premiere, is part of Theater J's "Voices From a Changing Middle East" series, a mini-festival within the Fringe. A work that's technically still in progress but feels nearly full-fledged, the play runs in an entertaining bare-bones production at Theater J through Sunday. (Those planning to attend should note that it runs about 20 minutes longer than the two hours cited in the Fringe's online guide.)

The play flashes back and forth between the lives of Sharon, the controversial Israeli politician, and Herzl, the Budapest-born writer-visionary who championed the idea of a Jewish state starting in the late 19th century. Zellnick tracks contrasts and parallels between the two lives, raising provocative questions about how violence, pragmatism and utopian yearnings have fit into the history of Zionism.

Note: I'm planning to see the 3 p.m. Sunday show....

The post also highlighted the best of the fringe shows likely to make it into the broader mainstream theater world, including some I'm planning to see, such as Air Heart, the show on Amelia Erhart. Here's the round-up of their latest picks. But they missed, for the most part, some of the great solo performers I've seen or have created strong word-of-mouth:

Slash Coleman’s Neon Man and Mean is both a moving and hilarious look at the death of his best friend. It’s good enough to be on PBS next year, and you shouldn’t miss it. You can learn more about his show at www.slashcoleman.com.

Courtney McLean is a rising young star with a magnetic stage presence and a great flair for comedy who does a lively parody of women’s magazines, adding a mock sci-fi element. The show is Super Glossy, and you can samples of her work and learn more at www.courtneymclean.com.

Zerha Fehzal does a brilliant reading of a one-person presentation, derived from a Japanese play she edited, on Hitler’s machinations to rid himself of his best friend, Ernest Rohm, head of the Stormtroopers. It’s an effort to bring Hitler down to human scale so we can better understand his evil. Here’s what DCist said:
Zehra Fazal Shines @ The Fringe Festival

Zehra Fazal in My Friend Hitler“If I do my job as an actor, you won’t notice that I’m South Asian or that I’m a woman, or even that I’m playing one of the most controversial political figures of all time. I’m portraying a person at a crossroads struggling with a difficult decision.” So says Zehra Fazal (pictured right) of her striking portrayal of Adolf Hitler in her self-produced, one-woman adaptation of Yukio Mishima’s play, My Friend Hitler, currently running at the Capital Fringe Festival.

An experienced young gay and African-American comedian, Les Kurkendaal, transcends those “categories” with a well-reviewed show about a “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”-style comedy scenario involving a black man meeting his white boyfriend’s parents in “Christmas in Bakersfield.” It’s been shown for seven years at a row at the Minneapolis fringe festival, and he’s a steadily working comic, so he’s got the comedy skills needed to make the show a treat for all. You can learn more and see video excerpts of his act at www.myspace.com/leskurkendaal.

Also check out John Hefner, the estanged cousin of Hugh Hefner, in his acerbic and humorous take comparing his life to his famed womanizing relative. You can check out more about his act at www.myspace.com/hefnermonologues

Air Heart, the one-woman show combining acrobatics and a lively monologue on Amelia Erhart, is one of the hottest ticks around.

Go to the links to the schedule on this website, or on the festival website, http://www.capfringe.org/ for more information.


Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?