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BWW Review: FRINGE POP at Capital Fringe

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Presented by Capital Fringe in Washington D.C., FRINGE POP [Performance over Projection] pairs short films with 10-minute plays that focus on how we experience public vs. private space. FRINGE POP has two separate performance tracks throughout the run: PUBLIC and PRIVATE. This specific review is of the PRIVATE performance track.

The performance took place in the Logan Fringe Arts Space. The set design is very basic and to the point, with lighting that mirrored the simplicity of the space's surrounding aesthetic. Additionally, there was a projector screen positioned on the outskirts of the stage which the short films were shown on.

Good as I Been To You, by Anthony Szulc and directed by Ty Hallmark, brought about important questions regarding how we, as a society, view marriage and the benefits that come with it. Rudy, played by Jordan Friend, is an immigrant trying to remain in the US with the help of his companion Nora, played by Tiffany Byrd. The performance given by Byrd was an artful presentation of bold character choices that demonstrated strong theatrical experience. Friend presented Rudy's character in a way that seemed to be a caricature of reality, along with several differing and inconsistent dialects.

Fully Present, by Cynthia Faith Arsenault and directed by Ty Hallmark, was absolutely the stand out play of the evening. Alani Kravitz, playing the role of Jennifer, brought to life a character that was truly and intrinsically remarkable. Kravitz, working symbiotically with the brilliant words of Arsenault, addresses with great precision and passion the social restlessness we all experience on a blind first date.

Venice, a short film by Venetia Taylor, adhered to the show's PRIVATE theme in a way that truly captured the essence of being in space we were not meant for. The film follows Josh, a millennial who is backpacking in Italy. Josh calls his mother in Australia via Skype to ask for more money, and after Josh threatens to come home, she succumbs to her son's request and says yes. However, once she thinks Skype has been closed, the true elements of privacy begin to manifest. The cinematography was absolutely gorgeous; and the acting choices, rooted in genuine motivations, were a highlight of the film.

Our Place, by Mark Scharf and directed by Quill Nebeker, showed us the journey of what it's like to live with someone battling Alzheimers, and the effect a specific and imbued space can have on said battle. Christine (Cam Magee) and Vince (Nick Torres) visit their favorite restaurant, and the audience quickly discovers that everything is not as it seems. Magee and Torres built a relationship that is authentic, endearing, and relatable. Overall, a quality play with quality performers.

Throughout the evening, there was an inserted live-feed from an on-stage cameraman. However, there were only several times throughout the program that the live feed was viewable by the audience. The idea of transforming and manipulating the 4th wall was impressive; however, if done in a way that the cameraman was not so obviously placed on stage, it would have felt less abrasive and distracting. The flow of the plays and films during the evening did not work well together. Many times, it felt as if one was being interrupted by the other.

When the idea of private space comes to mind, I think that many of the plays sat on the surface level of what could have been explored in FRINGE POP, especially with this production being based in the realm of fringe.

Conceptually speaking, the idea that Capital Fringe has for this production is fabulous, and absolutely on the right track to cultivating new and exciting innovations for the stage. The intersection of new media, technology, and live theater is something that is not explored or greatly experimented with often, and is just now starting to gain national popularity. Capital Fringe has stumbled upon what seems to be a potential goldmine of theatrical innovation, and with some working out of the kinks, the possibilities are limitless.


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