Monday, August 25, 2008

Fringe 2008: Wrap-Up

I can't hype what I haven't seen, but I will say that tickets and information for the Fringe Encores series has just gone live, right here.

I'll be trying to take in Blanche Survives Katrina in a FEMA Trailer Named Desire, and Krapp, 39, both of which I missed the first time through, but I also recommend heading out to The Boy in the Basement and There Will Come Soft Rains. I also think that while it still needs some work, you can either catch The Redheaded Man now, or when it's inevitably mounted again.

Curiously, none of the plays that won the "outstanding" festival awards are coming back for encores, whereas a lot of the solo shows and "big names" (like Perez Hilton Saves The Universe) are. I understand the goal's to sell tickets, and these may be the most commercially feasible (bigger draws, lower overheads), but I think it says something about how meaningless awards really are. People don't care about quality--at least, not what critics define as quality (and that's a big point)--so much as they do about access, entertainment, and relevance, which in the America of today translates to pop-cultural praise.

[Click through to see what and who the official judges deemed the big Fringe winners.]

Outstanding Play:
The Umbrella Plays
Sailor Man
Too Much Memory

Outstanding Musical:
China - The Whole Enchilada
Perez Hilton Saves the Universe...

Outstanding Playwrighting:
Montserrat Mendez -Thoroughly Stupid Things...
Paul Cohen - Mourn the Living Hector
Suzie Miller - Reasonable Doubt
Halley Bondy - The Redheaded Man

Outstanding Music & Lyrics:
Julie Nichols, Lames Asmus & Andrew Hobgood - Love is Dead

Outstanding Solo Show:
Krapp, 39
Blanche Survives Hurricane Katrina...

Outstanding Direction:
Bill Oliver -The Alice Complex
Heather Cohen - Other Bodies
Nell Balaban - The Boy in the Basement
Jon Levin - There Will Come Soft Rains

Outstanding Costume Design:
Gem! A Truly Outrageous Parody! - Angela Harner
The Fabulous Kane Sisters... - Jennifer Kirschman
Charlie LaGreca - The Gargoyle Garden

Outstanding Lighting Design:
Teresa Hull - The Permanent Night

Outstanding Actor:
Molly Bell - Becoming Britney
Hogan Gorman - Hot Cripple
Movin Melvin Brown - A Man, A Magic, A Music
Deborah Weston - See How Beautiful I Am
Will Manning - Choke City & Revolution on the Roof

Outstanding Ensemble:
Keep Your Eyes Open
Gem! A Truly Outrageous Parody!
Paper Dolls

Outstanding Set Design:
Tania Bijlani - The Alice Complex

Outstanding Choreography:
Lizzie Leopold - Green Eyes


Mark said...

Aaron, not all of the shows picked for the encore series can do it. We were approached about doing it but none of my actors were able to do it. They all had other jobs.

For whatever that's worth.

Mark Brown - China - The Whole Enchilada

Aaron Riccio said...

Mark, thanks for the update (and sorry I missed your show). I would say that your show had quite a deal of commercial appeal and buzz behind it, what with the Olympics putting China back in the spotlight, but you're right: nobody is guaranteed a berth in the Encores series, and last minute time commitments are no doubt harder to tie down for shows with larger casts.

I think the larger point is still valid, though, in that ultimately the Encores series doesn't represent "the best" of the Fringe, so much as it does the most accessible or available shows from the Fringe. This isn't always bad, and I'm happy that audiences will have another chance to see something visually unique, like "There Will Come Soft Rains," but I'm sad that, for whatever reason, many of the award-winning shows are NOT the shows going back up.

Mark said...

Aaron, yeah I'm not sure how they pick which shows will be part of the series. We were approached Saturday the 23rd. Not nearly enough time to make other plans. Oh well. We had a great time at the Fringe. It was a first for all of us and we had a blast.