FronteraFest, “The fringe theatre event of the Southwest” according to Austin American-Statesman, is a presentation of both long and short works over the course of five weeks. I recently took in the “Short Fringe” portion of the Fest (four or five plays, each one no longer than 25 minutes, all in one night) and wasn’t disappointed. Some interesting plot twists and turns, and while I thought the actors were inspired, the grounding of dance, performance and spoken word claimed the night.
“Peace Is With You”, was not only engaging but evocative, echoing the pulse of the planet in its call for equality between the sexes, a poignant and heartfelt piece that swayed and stomped just enough to fray the edges of one’s own sense of fragile tranquility. Choreographed by Danielle Ricci and performed by Morgan Eddolls, Wakelyn Malitz, Ricci and Ellen Thomas.
“Chocolat Nonplus Redux” was brave and edgy. A performance piece that seemed at once childlike and other worldly, a glimpse perhaps into the minds of those seen and unseen much like the elderly or the disenfranchised living on the fringes of society. Its call for audience involvement was somewhat lost on the strength of the performer, who I was so intent on watching that I forgot to do my clapping. Its minimalist hand-penned program torn from a spiral notebook made different suggestions to various audience members, e.g., “stand and wink” or “clap 10 times when it feels right.” Nonetheless, the image and the music lingered—brought, simply, by April and Elizabeth.
The strong ending piece by Uprise! Productions, Xenogia Spoken Word Collective, “Speaking the spoken!” an excerpt from an upcoming feature length play, written and directed by Xenogia Spoken Word Collective and featuring Ebony Stewart, Dashade Moonbeam, Enrique Caberra, Love Robinson, and Zell Miller, III, accompanied by the dance of Sade Jones was impressive and stirring, particularly the line about how, “Love, makes you pray for your own demise, and still you love.” True and circuitous, rounding out the evening and echoing the message of “Peace Is With You”, a tribute to the strength of Afghan women who have lost much as civilian victims of war and of the silent performer who was just present enough to make us laugh at ourselves and perhaps take ourselves a little less seriously.
WHEN and WHERE:
The Short Fringe runs through February 18th at Hyde Park Theatre.
The Long Fringe runs through February 5th at Salvage Vanguard Theater and the Blue Theatre.
Mi Casa Es Su Teatro is Saturday, February 11 (all day).
Also, B.Y.O.V.: LOST—a spin on Shakespeare’s The Tempest—Thursday, January 26th at the UT Lab Theatre (behind the Winship Building), the culmination of an eight-day workshop, presented by students from Korea’s Chung Ang University (CAU).