Monday, August 17, 2009
boulder fringe festival
here's a piece from today's paper on the boulder fringe fest. If you get a chance, check it out. there is some extremely cool shit going on down there.
i know, i know, you hear the words 'fringe festival' and you think: 'ah. some fat chick screaming and smearing feces on herself or a guy doing a one-man show all about his creepy-ass relationship with his molester dad,' right?
no. there are some really cool straight (meaning conventional) theatre pieces--as well as some stranger shite--but it's worth the trip.
from the Post:
The quartet of older folks chatted awkwardly in the lingering heat of an early evening in Boulder, silences looming large in the spaces between words. They seemed a bit bemused after seeing a performance at the First United Methodist Church — smiling, but with that far-off, crinkle-browed expression people sometimes get when they aren't quite sure what they just saw.
"Well, it's, uh, different, that's for sure," said one woman.
Which is as good an introduction as any to the Boulder International Fringe Festival. For five years now, the event has been delighting, offending and perplexing visitors, and there are no signs that will change anytime soon.
As always, there are puppets, masks, dance, plays and all manner of comedy and weirdness in the one-man/one-woman-show tradition. Between events, performers prey on unsuspecting festivalgoers as they exit, queuing to chat them up and hand them glossy postcards advertising their own shows. British comedian and performer Jimmy Hogg, who is also hosting "The Daily C.R.A.B." variety show each night at the Scotch Corner Pub, tried to hand me a card for his piece "Like a Virgin" two or three times.
"Sorry, mate," he said, smiling as he spun frenetically to catch the next wave of exiting audience members.
It's all in good fun, and it's refreshing to have performers not only hawking their own shows, but also rubbing shoulders with patrons, all without any pretense of the "delicate artiste" hiding behind the dressing room door.
It's all out in the open, baby.
As it most certainly was in "Pizza Man," the show referenced by the people outside the church. Early on, Bree Holcombe as Julie sets out to show her nosy neighbor that she is, too, wearing underwear, only to prove definitively that, er, she isn't.
But that's just an aside — no offense to Ms. Holcombe.
The thrust of the story, as it were, is that she and Amy Young play sick-of- men roommates who order a pizza with everything — including the pizza delivery man. It's a heartwarming tale of loneliness, personal growth and female-on- male rape.
It's actually a frenzied, kooky comedy that somehow works, despite being based on a horrific premise — off-color jokes and gender/power-swapping aside, some will understandably fail to see the humor in the subject.
But if the show were safe and conventional, why present it here? Besides, once you get past the silly set-up and realize it's a piece that borders on absurdism, the laughs don't stop. It's all snappy one-liners, delivered with a terrific sense of comedic timing by Holcombe and Young, as well as the object of their twisted affection, hapless pizza man Eddie (Jeffrey Geil).
How can you not laugh when Eddie asks the ditzy Alice (Young) if she and Julie are feminists: "Oh, no," she replies deadpan. "We're strictly heterosexual."
It's not what you'd call highbrow, or even a completely fleshed-out story, but it's nearly a solid hour of laughs.
Another sure hit this year is a clever hybrid piece — part musical revue, part dance, and all-comedic — "Good Girls Don't, But I Do," based on the book "The Rules."
You remember "The Rules." That's the odious dating handbook that outlined a ruthless methodology by which women could manipulate a man into marriage, all the while pretending to a demure, chaste coquettishness more suitable to a Victorian era of myth.
Writer/director Joan Breummer certainly remembers the book, and she is not a fan.
The mockery comes sharp and fast — as the all-female cast enters, its members sing a lugubrious dirge redolent of old plantation tunes: "If you want me to, I'll cook and sew/Outside of you there's no place to go."
The ladies wear blank, glittering, Valium smiles and 1950s frocks as they recite tidbits of useful information: "Be busy, happy, and elusive!" All the while, they dance sexily with dusters and scrub floors, periodically taking turns to type diary entries into a terribly put-upon typewriter.
It seems Breummer has updated Freud's "Madonna-whore" dichotomy into a unified "housekeeper-whore" image of the perfect woman.
After the Stepford Wives-esque cast breaks into a sultry, cabaret-style number, you will certainly never look at your sponge-mop the same way again.
Boulder International Fringe Festival
Daily through Sunday, Aug. 23, at 15 venues throughout Boulder. The Laughing Goat Coffee House, 1709 Pearl St., serves as the main box office, but day-of-show tickets are available at each venue. Ticket prices and packages range from free to $240. 720-563-9950 or boulderfringe.com