Monday, July 21, 2008

A Blast of FringeNYC Energy

Last night, we recorded the first of two nytheatrecast episodes devoted to this year's New York International Fringe Festival. On this podcast, we previewed nine of this year's shows. If these nine are in any way indicative of the whole festival -- and I suspect they are -- then we are in for a major treat next month.

The podcast will be edited and released later this week. Until then, I just want to share some of what the experience was like making it.

We had about two dozen folks from the nine shows in our "studio." Some of them were people we know well, such as director Dominic D'Andrea and playwright Ashlin Halfnight (Good Pictures), director Edward Elefterion and playwright Stanton Wood (Big Thick Rod), and triple-threat Marc Geller (who co-wrote, directed, and stars in The Fabulous Kane Sisters in Box Office Poison). Some were folks whose work is fairly new to me, like Kestryl Lowrey of XY(T) and Anthony Frisina of The Dershowitz Protocol. And some were theatre artists whose work I have long admired, but who I got to meet in person last night for the first time, like actor/playwright Michael Laurence and director George Demas of Krapp, 39.

A couple of fairly new companies were well-represented: No. 11 (We Three) had a crew of four on hand and Studio Six of the Moscow Art Theatre (Hidden Fees*) had one director plus three actors. KNB-The Musical was repped by author/director Christopher Carter Sanderson (of Gorilla Rep fame), four company members (who sang one of the show's songs a cappella), and stage manager Alexis.

On the podcast, as you will discover when it goes live in a few days, we heard excerpts from several of these shows, along with incisive discussion about all of them from the people who make them. Host Trav S.D. was his usual brilliant and jocular self and kept the recording session humming.

What you won't know from the finished podcast is what a fantastic evening this was. Best evidence of this: when the session was over...nobody seemed to want to leave. We were having a real FringeNYC moment, with everybody talking to each other about their work, exchanging phone numbers and emails, and of course (inevitably) passing out the postcards for their shows. (I received perhaps the most unusual promotional item for a FringeNYC show I've ever seen -- a Big Thick Rod condom.)

I think everybody enjoyed the delicious chocolate cake that my niece Sarah made for the occasion, too.

Next Sunday night we do it all again with FringeNYC Preview #2. I can't wait.

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