Entertainment » Theatre

Atlanta Fringe Festival Part 2

by Daniel Lamb
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Saturday Jun 13, 2015
'Prison Monologues'
'Prison Monologues'  

There exists a vibrant local spirit around Atlanta Fringe Festival performances: artists, producers, patrons, judges and staff come together as a community of art lovers. Atlanta needs positive culture events like this one-people connecting with one another outside the confines of business life and normative social constructs; there's a pollination that happens where new connections begin.

Small Ensemble Shows

1. "Prison Monologues, Part I" by Daniel Guyton, produced by Liberal Eye Productions is a series of solo performances drawn on emotional power, subtle explorations of message, and dark, evocative imagery that made this exhibition truly one of the powerhouses of this year's Fringe. All of these narratives are powerfully delivered and bring something very interesting to the table. AC Smallwood, in "Hate Male," a monologue, plays the role of a very angry young woman who was sexually abused wherein she attempts to seduce a prison guard. Her's is the most evocative tale. Smallwood is captivating and a bit terrifying in her portrayal of this damaged character. Keep an eye out for future offerings of this piece.

2. Written, directed and narrated by Brandi Hoofnagle (who portrays Katie Wright), "Flying Without Feathers," produced by Puppets Playing Pretend is a visually striking imagistic historical play. The story recounts the Wright Brothers' journey to invent the airplane and their success and subsequent struggles. Hoofnagle's work is geared toward school-aged audiences -- the play feels like learning a school history lesson, but in the best way. How many history lectures feature a live cast, shadow puppets, and objects flying overhead to a majestic soundtrack?

3. "(Your Title Here)" produced by Improvosaurus is an improv concept show from young improvisers who show promise and bring a fun energy to the Fringe. They asked the audience for a prompt, hence the title. For this review, the show title was "Dude Where's My Cotton Candy?" The improvisers crafted a one-act based on this prompt, painting the story of an ill-fated carnival and the nefarious plans of an imperialistic circus owner with deep pockets. Improvosaurus creators Zach Harris and Jeremy Goodall should be proud to bring an innovate concept to improv, having experimented with the form- -- what challenge will they rise to next?

Solo Performances
1. Irene Chan brings her skills as a multimodal conceptual artist to bear in this multi-sensory experience, complete with penis cookies with "An Incomplete Sex Education" by Ch'an Press. Visually striking, performative, funny and well-crafted, this piece explores Chan's own incomplete sex education in a series of five short narratives that make up this one-woman spoken-word experience. The performance feels equal parts performance art and storytelling. She uses musical instruments, images, and paper sculpture to create textures that help her explore the emotional and somatic character around her stories.

2. "Can't Ain't Nothing But a Four-Letter Word" produced by Funnyman Malcom Productions is a show of masterful storytelling from Malcom Grissom. His work is a beautiful display of humanity in performance. He recounts his journey through childhood, through Ray's Syndrome, and into his adulthood and his path of self-actualization with power, humor, and tenderness. Moving beyond traditional storytelling, Grissom's performance included attentive use of lighting and sound to create an emotive space. The winner of both the Producer and Critic's Choice Awards, this performance really delivered. Grissom gives a realistic picture of his life, the dark and the light, a great performance to close out the evening.

The Atlanta Fringe Festival ran through June 7 at 7 Stages Mainstage, 1105 Euclid Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307. For information, visit http://atlantafringe.org

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