On the Fringe: La Jolla Playhouse part of San Diego-bound avant-garde festival
If you go
■ Tickets & schedule: sdfringe.org or buy tickets at the venues the week (or day) of performance. Most shows $10 with discounts online at Goldstar and ArtsTix
■ Kickoff party: 3 p.m. July 4, free entertainment, food, drinks and fireworks on the roof of 10th Avenue Theatre
By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt
In the summer of 1947, when the first Edinburgh International Festival took place in Scotland’s capital to showcase performing arts, eight theater companies not included in the festivities presented performances on the side. Over the years, this Fringe Festival has grown to huge proportions as an open-access arts event that features thousands of performers from around the world and sells more than a million tickets every year.
The Edinburgh Fringe has inspired dozens of similar festivals. Now San Diego is jumping aboard the Fringe- wagon with a weeklong event and more than 50 performers bringing a new wave of theater, dance, puppetry, music, magic, comedy and circus to town July 1-7.
With an advisory board that includes representatives from local arts organizations like Broadway San Diego, San Diego Visual Arts Network, San Diego Film Festival, Street Scene and Playwrights Project, The first annual San Diego Fringe is aiming to be the most engaging, electric and exciting arts festival in Southern California.
Katherine Harroff, artistic director of circlecircledotdot, a community-based theater group, has been with the Fringe from the start, about a year ago.
“Kevin Patterson, the executive producer of the Fringe, asked if I’d like to help out, since I’d helped start the first Phoenix Fringe Festival in 2008,” said Harroff, who is now press coordinator, and is also co- directing a performance.
“With three main venues and a half-dozen others, our goal this year is just to make it all happen,” she said. “But we’re hoping to pave the way to a really major festival here.”
Edinburgh, it turns out, is one of San Diego’s sister cities. With the luck of the Scottish, maybe our Fringe will end up as wildly successful as theirs.
1. ‘Baby Redboots’ Revenge’ (Toronto)
One-man, manic “avant-vaudeville” show stars Sean Sullivan, whom the New York Times called “a virtual Nijinsky of performance art,” as a former child star now condemned to play stand-up bass in a polka band for eternity. It was written by Philip- Dimitri Galas, a San Diego-based playwright who originally performed the piece in 1986 in La Jolla, and died later that year. Another Galas revival, “Mona Rogers in Person,” will also be staged at the Fringe.
■ See it: 8 p.m. July 3-6; 11 p.m. July 7, 10th Ave. Theatre, 930 10th Ave., San Diego
2. ‘Ubu Roi’ (San Diego) New adaptation of a 120-year-old
French comedy that was the granddaddy of the Theater of the Absurd, ‘Ubu Roi’ (King Ubu) presented by the Max Fischer Players in association with the San Diego Guild of Puppetry, includes slapstick, violence, audience participation and murdered vegetables. The venue is Searsucker restaurant (cocktails, beers, food available, if you come for lunch before the show, 20 percent off your bill with the password, “Shwitt!”)
■ See it: 2:30 pm. July 3, 5 and 6; Seersucker, 611 5th Ave., San Diego
3. ‘The Desperate Characters of Mercer County’ (San Diego)
Dream-like mix of family history, puppet theater, mime and music written and performed by Jenna Ann MacGillis; hay-bale seating and country-style band made up of UCSD grad students.
■ See it: 9:30 p.m. July 5 and 6; 6:30 p.m. July 7, Space 4 Art Indoor Gallery, 325 15th St., San Diego
4. ‘Warriors’ Duet’ (San Diego)
Dance theater piece celebrates life, love and language, written by local theater critic Charlene Baldridge about her relationship with her daughter, Laura Morefield, who died of colon cancer. Co-directed by choreographer
Ann Gehman and Katherine Harroff, the piece includes some of the poems Morefield wrote during her illness, and reveals the battles and bonds between mother and daughter through movement and music.
■ See it: 11 a.m. July 5; 12:30 p.m. July 6; 5 p.m. July 7, 10th Ave. Theatre
5. ‘Carpe Minuta Prima’ (London)
DIY Special, presented by La Jolla Playhouse; sell a minute of your time for $1, get filmed doing anything you want for one minute, and for another $1, take home the DVD.
■ See it:
- ‘An Iliad,’ unfolds a tale of love and destruction
- Juan Jose leads a feisty cast through one very funny American Night at La Jolla Playhouse
- Irreverent comedy about history across a trans-border landscape comes to La Jolla Playhouse
- Board sets dinners with its artists to raise funds for The Playhouse
- San Diego actress returns to star in ‘Sleeping Beauty Wakes’ at the Playhouse
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