The upcoming Hollywood Fringe Festival 2016 will spotlight a plethora of new theatrical faces gracing our local stages. It is also providing an outlet for local stages to introduce their wares to the thousands of theatre enthusiasts who will be roaming the streets of LA during Fringe Fest (June 9-25). For instance, venerable award-winning Fountain Theatre is offering a tantalizing reading of a new play culled from its in-house Rapid Development Series. Troy, written by John Johnson, directed by Miranda Johnson—focusing on the perplexity of grief in a war that is happening both far away and in our living rooms—is inspired by The Oresteia. Production stars Al Bernstein, Lisa Pescia, Whitney Montgomery, Christine Breihan and Dane Oliver (June 23 & 24).
- MB Stage Productions is crossing genres with its newest musical farce, Winter is Coming: A Musical Parody of Game of Thrones, written and composed by Laura Wiley, with contributions by Jared Tyrel Pixler and David Evan Stolworthy, who also directs. Opens June 10 at Actors Company in West Hollywood. MB’s 2015 Hollywood Fringe entry, The Video Games, is currently on tour.
- Offering an inviting evening for those who like to enjoy their culture within the cozy comfort of a neighborhood pub, Angel’s Flight, a “film noir burlesque comedy” by Matt Ritchey and Benjamin Schwartz, debuts at Three Clubs cocktail bar, starring Ritchey and Schwartz, in the company of Cherry Poppins Caburlesque Company (winners of Fringe 2015 “Most Orgasmic Performance” award). Plays June 4-25.
- British playwright/poet, Ryan J-W Smith, who garnered two awards (including the International Award) at Hollywood Fringe 2015, brings his Rogue Shakespeare theatre company back with two new Bard-esque farces, performed in two venues. MacDeth, a comedy in iambic verse, will play at Ruby Theatre (June 2-25). Sweet Love Adieu—Romeo and Juliet meets Monty Python—will be housed at McCadden Theatre (June 4-25).
- Dominican-born actor/writer/spoken word poet Gabriela Ortega returns to Hollywood Fringe with a new solo show, Las García, chronicling the journeys of two women of the same bloodline, fighting to find themselves through love, war, and their innermost desires. Helmed by Alex Alpharaoh, this exploration of what it means to be an independent woman in an independent world plays at Asylum @ Studio C Artists (June 5-25).
- The June 1966, 220-mile March Against Fear from Memphis Tennessee to Mobile Alabama marked the rise of SNCC leader Stokely Carmichael as a motivating force in the emerging Black Power Movement. On the 50th anniversary of this event, writer/performer Meshaun Labrone debuts “POWER!” Stokely Carmichael, directed by Jennifer Knight at The Lounge Theater–Lounge 2 (June 2-11).
- Welsh writer/performer Daniel Lleweylyn-Williams mines his homeland roots in his one-man show, A Regular Little Houdini, chronicling an eight-year (1905-1913) slice of Edwardian Welsh dockland life, bookended by appearances of master illusionist Harry Houdini. At Theatre of NOTE June 16-25.
AUDIENCE ON THE MOVE
ANNA MAVROMATI discusses her audience-interactive play, The Truth, directed by Marlee Delia, presented by Shine On Collective. The audience meets at Hudson Lobby Café (June 3-25).
“This is our debut production. We are a female-led company and there were a lot of women involved in putting this together. Our director, Marlee, comes from a strong theater background and both of us were really interested in immersive theater and coming up with interactive ways of telling stories and involving the audience in the storyline itself, really having them involved in how the storyline unfolds. Marlee has seen work like this in New York and was very excited about doing it here. Our audience members will actually gather in the lobby of the Hudson Theatre’s Café. We have six audience members at a time going though the show at 20-minute intervals. Basically, the audience buys tickets for different time slots. You are never in a theater. It kind of works like a walking tour. It all takes place within a two- to three-block area of Santa Monica Boulevard. The cast members are always in character, addressing the audience directly. And the scripted narrative is designed to involve the audience almost immediately. At one point during the performance, the audience members are asked to wear headphones to hear aspects of the drama. We have a cast of really strong improvisers, so they will be reacting to the audience and what the audience contributes to the narrative. We feel that, based on their reactions and how the cast responds to them, no two audiences will actually be involved in the same show. So, the more the audience embraces the immersive experience and interacts with our cast, the more they will enjoy the show.”