A Fringe Sampler
The Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival runs May 13-26, with most venues located in Orlando’s Loch Haven Park.
More than 1,200 artists will be featured in 700-plus performances of 125 ticketed shows. Here are five that caught our eye:
Grim and Fischer
In this stylized, masked presentation by a Portland, Ore., theatrical troupe, an elderly widow debates and outsmarts Death when he comes to claim her. The journey is an affirmation of life, an exercise in wit, and one of the most unique uses of a bathroom scale you’ll ever see
The Wait List Murders
So many would-be playwrights line up to present Fringe shows that festival organizers use a wait list and a lottery process to choose among them. Getting through that gantlet can be murder, literally, or so it would appear in this spoof from the creator of last year’s Escape From Baldwin Park.
Chase Padgett, a University of Central Florida graduate who went on to become one of the most talented performers on the Fringe circuit in recent years, was a one-man, multiple-characters phenom last year in Nashville Hurricane. In the similarly magical 6 Guitars, he portrays six different yarn-spinning guitar players of multiple genres.
This one is audience participation, squared—more role-playing than play. A dozen actors interact with 30 audience members at a time, giving each individual a position in a society based on Plato’s mythical city-state. From that point on, the drama you experience depends on the choices you make.
Janis Joplin: Little Girl Blue
Call it a long-awaited return engagement. Six years ago local producer Dave Mann drafted fiery vocalist Kaleigh Baker to sing Janis Joplin songs at the annual Jambando tribute-fest at The Plaza. It took her by surprise, but Mann knew what he was doing. So does Baker. Chills are guaranteed.
For schedules and information go to orlandofringe.org.