I was recently in New York City and I happened upon the New York International Fringe Theatre Festival in full swing. The festival (“Fringe NYC” for short) is an annual event modeled after the Edinburgh Fringe Theatre festival but still, nothing like Edinburgh. That is, I’d been to Edinburgh and I’d seen the show before I’d ever been to Fringe NYC. I was lucky enough to go to Edinburgh in 2001 with my college and this thing was a mess; it was an event which took over the whole city; from the hundred year old castles to the newly constructed event spaces, Edinburgh Fringe really ran the gamut. But Fringe NYC was still but a young five years old when I’d first participated in 2002 as a venue director at the Clemente Soto Velez cultural center. The experience was amazing; the hours were long, the pay was paltry (but at least it was something), but the experience was one which I wouldn’t trade at all. When I was recently back in New York City I was able to see some of the event spaces, see the Fringe Central event space, and pick up some information about some shows and artists to give watch to during the Fringe NYC festival and afterwards.
Fringe Central: While I don’t remember if there was a Fringe Central location in 2002 (it must have been somewhere but the location escapes me; I do recall Elena Holy; artistic director of the Fringe NYC festival and one of the founding movers and shakers hanging out down at my event space on at least one occasion (it was kind of like finding Joe Biden at a town hall meeting). So I know that the people in charge were circulating (Clemente Soto Velez is way down on the Lower East Side; south of Rivington Street near the Williamsburg Bridge) – though I imagine at that point in the festival Holy may have been yearning for simpler times because the Fringe was exploding in 2002. Fringe NYC has gone on to become one of the largest multi-artist instillations in North America. Regardless the Fringe Central location is on East 8th Street and is in a perfect spot right off 5th Avenue. Fringe Central has a myriad of information, a small stage which is likely for late night spoken word events. As well the Fringe Central has information about the more than 200 shows which are playing at Fringe NYC.
Fringe NYC Shows: While I was not able to make it out to any shows at the Fringe NYC in 2010, I did pick up some information about a number of shows which look interesting. My Dad’s Crazier Than Your Dad: A Scientific Inquiryis a solo show by Katharine Heller playing at Dixon Place Theatre; The Pig, The Farmer, and The Artistby David Chesky is playing at the Ellen Stewart Theatre at La Mama; Jeff Kreisler’s Get Rich Cheating is playing at the SoHo Playhouse; Heterosexuals by Lee Papa is playing at the Cherry Pit Theatre; Terms of Dismemberment by Dorothy Marcic is playing at the Lucile Lortel Theatre; and Megan Condit’s And A Wake-Upis playing at the New School for Drama Theatre. While these are just a few of the shows playing at the 2010 Fringe NYC, they are some which are generating positive buzz among my circle.
Fringe NYC is an amazing event and one which looks to keep going year after year. With its myriad programs for all levels of theatre artists in the theatre capital of the world, Fringe NYC in New York City is fast becoming the standard by which the next generations theatre talent is judged or the pool from which this new theatrical talent is drawn from. In either event Fringe NYC welcomes all comers; this year and beyond!