Five FringeNYC Plays Ask One Question: 'What Does it Mean to Be an American in 2015?'

By: Aug. 15, 2015
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Five new plays addressing issues of race, class, sexuality, immigration and identity are part of this year's New York International Fringe Festival. Each play questions the traditional American narrative, with central characters and themes representing a person or group on the margins of American society, living outside the box of the idealized American life.

From Jello-O shots and butterfly tattoos to slave labor, Krishna, and Afghanistan, "Hearts Afire" written by Darcy Heller Sternberg, portrays the harrowing yet inspirational stories of five community college students of diverse backgrounds that defy the American mainstream perception of students and college life. Based on a true story, "Elvira - The Immigration Play", written by Jessica Carmona, highlights the world of an undocumented immigrant living in fear, always at risk of being separated from her family and deported, while struggling to live the American Dream. "The Broken Record", written by and featuring Jonathan Louis Dent, addresses the helplessness and grief felt by black youth experiencing violence at the hands of police, and explores how these fatal encounters can be stopped. In his solo performance "butyou'reaman or: The Seven Men I came Out to In India," writer and performer Matthew Dicken claims queer ancestors and re-examines his sexual identify based on his experiences as a white, openly gay American man living and loving in India during a cyclone of international sexual shifts. "Cherubim" written and directed by Tess R. Ornstein, revisits the social conditions of 1992 Los Angeles in the days leading up to the Rodney King riots as a multi-racial family attempts to persevere after the sudden disappearance of a five-year-old daughter.

These five "other" American stories challenge each of us to reconsider how we interact in today's ever-changing and diverse American landscape. The New York International Fringe Festival is an annual two-week event, which takes place in downtown Manhattan theatres each August featuring over 200 shows with 1,100 performances. More details about the festival can be found at: