Shakespeare at the Fringe: Taming of the Show Goes Caveman

Taming of the ShowLittle Candle Productions brings its world premiere of the new musical Taming of the Show by Blake Waker to this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival. The 55-minute farce takes the audience through the outlandish and hysterical rehearsal process of a dysfunctional production of Shrew set in caveman times. It will run June 5 – 25 in the Sacred Fools Theatre’s Black Box.

A line has been drawn in the sand betwixt actors and crewmembers. Never the twain shall meet. And yet… Eddie Littlejeans, the assistant stage manager of a dysfunctional production of Taming of the Shrew dares to harbor a flame for the leading lady. Can love find a way backstage? In what might be considered Noises Off! meets Misery (with singing and dancing!) the show within a show goes terribly wrong, while Taming of the Show gets it just right.

The cast includes Jeff DeCrosta (Eddie), Chineze Enekwechi (Annie), Marc Forget (Montana Stanislavski), Greg Steinbrecher (Brayden), Steve Peterson (Hillary), Paula Deming (Betty), and Anthony Papastrat (Ronald Jeremy). Musical direction is by Billy Gill and the show is produced by Karissa McKinney and Lynn Downey Braswell.

TAMING OF THE SHOW
June 5 – 25, 2016
Little Candle Productions at Sacred Fools Theatre: Black Box
6322 Santa Monica Blvd. Hollywood, CA 90038.
Tickets: $12 ($10 with Hollywood Fringe Festival Button)
http://hff16.org/3418

Fringe Spotlight: Bright Swords – The Story of Ira Aldridge

Ryan Vincent AndersonRyan Vincent Anderson will star in Bright Swords by Rick Creese at this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival. The one-man show tells the true story of African-American actor Ira Aldridge, who fled racial hatred in New York in 1825, became a star of the European stage, and inspired the successful campaign to end slavery in the British Empire. Talk about making a difference.

In this short interview, Ryan [pictured right in Twelfth Night at the Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival] gives us his thoughts about the show and what to expect from Bright Swords. Enjoy!

Ryan, how are rehearsals for the show going?

I have been having a blast with director Jeffrey Wienckowski. I have never done a one man show before so it was exciting to find my footing in the process, which has been going on since May 8th. We work well together because we listen to each other’s instincts and try things out in the moment, rather than over talk issues. This saves a lot of time and makes for a very quick and efficient process. We are kind of like two cooks having fun in the kitchen. Hopefully our dish is received well.  More

Fringe Review: Jacob Sidney’s HAMLET MAX

The title of Jacob Sidney’s futuristic Hamlet refers to the Dane’s dead father Maximus, a character who never appears live on stage but only materializes as part of Hillary Bauman’s black & white anime projections on a screen behind the actors. The audience sees the ghost fade in and out behind them while a mirthless Hamlet peers out over the audience and responds to his father somewhere out in the empty wasteland beyond us.

It is a stylistic element that characterizes Sidney’s Hamlet in a production that is a steely mix of live action and introspective contemplation. As an exercise, it is immensely thought-provoking, but because each of the actors is already working within his or her own individual style, it keeps the sum of its parts fragmented.  More

Fringe Spotlight: STAR-CROSS’D Brings Romeo & Juliet To Life With Movement

Star Cross'd
To some, Romeo & Juliet is a story of two teenagers blinded by lust and driven to unspeakable acts, yet at its heart, it is a love story that transcends age and time. In Half Shadow Players’ production of Star-Cross’d, directors Lizzy Ferdinandi and Jessica Gaupel (who also co-founded the company) combine haunting contemporary music with Shakespeare’s text to create a 50-minute movement-oriented retelling of the classic love story.

With opening night only a week away, Jessica Gaupel tells how she and Ferdinandi were inspired to create this production.

Star Cross'd Jessie GaupelJessica, how did you decide on R&J as your source material?

Lizzy and I started out knowing we wanted to create a show based on Florence and the Machine’s music so we batted around ideas and came up with some original ideas and some other possibilities. We were also looking at Greek Myths, specifically the stories of Psyche and Cupid. There was ultimately a moment where we asked ourselves ‘well what does Florence write about? What’s at the heart of her music? What kind of story does she tell?’ We both agreed that she tells love stories but with a darker twist, so one of us asked, ‘well what’s a dark love story?’  More

Fringe Spotlight: Much Ado About Something (Who is the Chicken Little?)

Much Ado SomethingHere’s a Fringe production with a pretty “out there” spin on its Shakespeare source material. From the company’s description: “Better than Shakespeare! presents a revisionist Much Ado About Nothing. New music, new intrigues, twists and turns… and aliens. Because we think The Bard could use a little help. Don’t you? We’re calling it, Much Ado About Something. The Something is Aliens.”

Intrigued? Writer/director Megan Kelly and producer/actor Kate Grabau talk about their twist on Shakespeare’s classic comedy and their new company.

Megan Kelly: A Writer’s Perspective

Much Ado About Something arose from a discussion Kate and I had over coffee back at the first of the year. We had always wanted to work together; we loved Shakespeare; and the previous year, in an especially busy moment, I had said I wanted to direct her in As You Like It, at some point. So over coffee, Kate called me out. “Let’s do it for the Fringe this year.” And I laughed, and nodded, and pretended to agree to it. And I kept pretending, so much so that I found myself saying, “As You Like It is too hard. What about Much Ado?” Pretty immediately – and both of us still pretending at this point – the discussion turned to how to make Shakespeare Fringe appropriate. We wouldn’t have very much money. Shakespeare is always done. Much Ado is always done. What could we offer a Fringe audience?  More

Fringe Spotlight: I AM ROMEO & JULIET

I Am Romeo & Juliet
In I Am Romeo & Juliet, Joel Isaac Rivas recounts a queer young individual’s journey of self-discovery using the story of Romeo and Juliet. As Shakespeare’s play unfolds we begin to realize that his/her genderqueer identity carries the spirit of both Romeo and Juliet. The family feud and disapproval of the two star-crossed lovers compares to his/her divided “families:” the straight and LGBTQ communities. The question: will he/she succeed where the two lovers did not and escape or will he/she befall the same tragic ending?

Here, author and performer Joel Isaac Rivas discusses how the story of Romeo and Juliet prompted this exploration of love and what it has been like creating a one-person play out of life’s experiences.  More

Fringe Spotlight: A TWELFTH NIGHT that began in a Wedding Chapel

Twelfth Night - Mine is Yours

L-R: Hayley Brown, Nate Grams, Mary Ellen Schneider, Julie Dietz, Chris Greenwood, Hannah Pell. Photo credit: Nate Grams

In January 2014, Mine is Yours Theatre Company produced Twelfth Night, or What You, guerilla-style, in a local wedding chapel; a decision producer Hannah Pell says seemed especially appropriate. “More than any other Shakespeare comedy, this one seemed to specifically look at how life and death exist side by side, and the chapel was perfect for that.”

Now the company will remount the story of gender confusion, love unrequited, a jock strap, a drunk and a harmonium played by four women and two dudes at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, June 8 – 28. Christopher W. Jones directs the fast-paced 90-minute adaptation by Chris Greenwood as it evolves from a storybook fairytale into a complex, contemporary pursuit of love and revenge, exploring the tempestuous fury of affection not returned.  More

Fringe Spotlight: Romeo and Juliet in Hell

What would happen if, at the end of Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet woke up to discover they were stuck in their own Personal Hell, listening to Tony from West Side Story sing “Maria” for eternity? And in order to escape, they’d need to suffer through a production of their life story performed by the other inhabitants of Hell – Shakespeare’s dead characters. Matt Ritchey explores the story line in his new play Romeo and Juliet in Hell, featured at this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival.

“The show is full of theatre-insider jokes, Broadway show tunes, and madcap madness,” says Richey, who will direct his world premiere at the Flight Theatre at The Complex. The hour-long comedy previously received a staged reading at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, but its Fringe debut will be the first full production of the play.

I asked Matt why he decided to bring it to the Fringe and he said, “I directed a play at the Complex called Gearhead and the Realbot that closed in May and I wanted to do Romeo and Juliet In Hell, a comedy I wrote in the late ‘90s, as my next show. My friend Beki Lane (who plays Lady Macbeth) suggested doing it at the Fringe, which I’d never done.”  More

Fringe Spotlight: Ministers of Grace, The Unofficial Shakespearean Parody of Ghostbusters

Ministers of GraceThe Hollywood Fringe Festival is just around the corner and this year, more than ever before, audiences will have an opportunity to see creative twists on some familiar classic plays, including some by Shakespeare. At last count, there were 8 productions scheduled to appear and, over the next few weeks, I’ll be checking in with them to get the inside scoop so you can make the most of your Fringe experience. It’s Shakespeare’s 450th birthday this year; let the games begin.

One of most anticipated Fringe offerings is from the director and co-writer of Pulp Shakespeare, which was a breakout hit in 2011 and received a Best of Fringe Award before going to the east coast and conquering the New York Fringe Festival. Jordan Monsell’s Ministers of Grace: The Unauthorized Parody of Ghostbusters will be presented as a one-night-only staged reading in preparation for a full production at a later date. It imagines what the movie Ghostbusters would be like if it was written by William Shakespeare, telling the story of three unemployed professors of the supernatural who set up shop as a unique spirit removal service. I think you’ll agree that it’s one not to miss.

Jordan, with such smart writing, it wasn’t surprising that Pulp Fiction became a Fringe favorite. How did you decide to make Ghostbusters your next project?  More

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