I went, I saw, I thought ... hmmmm ... aftermath of "Fringe Oddity 2001"

By Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid
Staff Writer

If Fringe Festival organizers need something to chew on to improve next year's festival, they might think on the lack of representation by People of Color on those little, out of the way stages. In fact, at the production I saw of Cherry, Cherry, Lemon, I noticed that not only were there no actors of Color present, but very few audience members of Color too. Guys/dolls/whatever, this is something you should consider in recruiting shows for next year, particularly if Seattle is to uphold its "non-racist" (we say this with tongue firmly in cheek) status. That all said, on to the reviews of what I did see.

My leap into the unknown of The Fringe this year happened to be a rather offbeat production called Sweet Trio, which was a collection of three short plays. The first piece, The Blair Witch Fiasco (for the Fringe Rag reviewer who wondered what this was about, rent the video of The Blair Witch sweetie) wasn't too bad. Three hot bodies (two female and one guy) wander around what is supposed to be a tangled wood, having what is suppoed to be some kind of sexual adventure. Or is it just the guy having a weird fantasy about women doing things to him in his sleep? Not bad, but not great either.

The second part of the Trio, Calipore was clearly the strangest of the trio, and involved two sisters teasing each other, with a lot of sexual innuendo thrown in for good measure. Both were clearly comfortable with the material, and this was the best of the trio. Unfortunately, the last piece, Childhood '60s was pretty murky and left several audience mambers with quizzical looks on their faces. Definitely needed a little more work.

The next leap was into a familiar show done by a group which prides itself on not only being Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual friendly, but also goes out of its way to cast People of Color in the productions. The Repertory Actors Theatre group's More All in the Timing was undoubtedly the most satisfying foray into "fringeland," offering little vignettes like "Philip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread," and "The Universal Language," as well as new pieces, "Arabian Nights," and "Enigma Variations." Grade A plus on this one.

The problem play of the Fringe was Damn Savage's Christmas Brotherhood, which had the distinction of being the only other play I saw with a Person of Color (on half of the dysfunctional Lesbian couple at the center of the play). Unfortunately this joyful discovery was overshadowed by the fact that the acting was quite uneven and at times a lot like watching an episode of Jerry Springer. To be fair, the material was worthy and interesting, but the play simply failed to live up to its own premise of a love triangle between a Lesbian, her lover and her lover's brother. Back to the drawing board for a rewrite on this one.

And finally, the best production of the festival (keep in mind I only saw a handful), was Round, Firm and Fully Packed Production's raunchy, funny Cherry, Cherry, Lemon.

Focusing on two women from different backgrounds who invite the audience to listen in as they share their sexual fantasies, past experiences with dud boyfriends and emotional epiphanies. A little like Ally McBeal meets Suddenly Susan, but not bad really. Now if only next year we could hear from Black women, or Lesbians or Transgender people, that would be great. Are you listening Fringe planning committee?

March 23, 2001


Seattle Fringe Theatre Festival/ A Fringe Oddity 2001
More All in the Timing
Repertory Actors Theatre
Sweet Trio
Pelican Productions
Christmas Brotherhood
Damn Savage Productions
Cherry, Cherry, Lemon
Round, Firm and Fully Packed Productions
(March 8-18)

© 2001 Seattle Gay News. Reprinted with permission by ReAct.

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