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Posts Tagged ‘fringe festival’

Maura Judkis of the Washington Post blogged recently about an actor who wants the opportunity to perform in your home and will throw in a surprising service.

Judkis writes, “Fringe Festival audiences have opened their homes to Brian Feldman. He has met their families and friends, admired their art, eaten their food, handled their precious china. …

“The premise for Feldman’s show, ‘Dishwasher,’ is this: He will come to a person’s house, wash all of the dirty dishes, perform a monologue of the audience’s choosing and then conclude with a single question: ‘Am I a better actor or dishwasher?’ The answer can depend on the monologue that he cold-reads — and on how crusty that casserole dish in the sink has become. The show — the first Fringe show to take place in private homes — has sold out its entire run. …

“His [work] follows in the tradition of great performance artists such as Tehching Hsieh and Marina Abramovic, but it’s more playful — and in his opinion, more theatrical.

“ ‘It’s hard to define — I’m straddling the middle, and I’m always pitching it as theater,’ he said. ‘I was always more interested in theater that had a concept that was hard to define, or things that didn’t have an ending, and didn’t necessarily have a beginning.’ …

“In the week of performing the show so far, he’s dealt with messes big and small. There was the Cleveland Park home with the too-small sink.

“ ‘It was hard to wash anything,’ he said. ‘They had a door that you could enclose yourself in the kitchen. I used it to comic effect, it was almost like “Noises Off.” ‘ …

“So far, five of his hosts have told him he’s better at acting, one has said he’s better at dishwashing, and two couldn’t decide.

“ ‘I’m trying to do as good a job dishwashing as I am acting,’ he said. ‘It’s subjective, just like art.’ ”

Read how Judkis and her friends got him to read “the character of Mrs. Pringle, who is fretting about a disappointing party, from the play ‘Fourteen’ by Alice Gerstenberg. ‘This is my last dinner party — my very last — a fiasco — an utter fiasco!’ ” here.

Photo: Maura Judkis/The Washington Post
Brian Feldman performs a monologue in the writer’s home.

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Steve McGonagle is a set designer whose community-theater work always amazed me back when I was a reviewer. One set that stands out in my mind was his huge train engine charging toward the audience in the Vokes Players performance of On the Twentieth Century (not to mention all the scene changes for that old-time musical).

Recently, Steve returned to school, to Boston University, to get his PhD, and he mentioned to me that he and other students were working on a BU Fringe Festival entry. (I blogged a bit about the original, 50-year-old Edinburgh Fringe Festival here.)

On Sunday my husband and I went to see the 90-minute opera in the black box space upstairs from the Huntington Theater.  It was wonderful in every way, not least because Steve designed and built a beautifully plausible Golden Gate Bridge with only a $200 budget.

The new Jake Heggie opera, Three Decembers, was based on a Terrence McNally play. The story revolves around a self-centered and overbearing stage diva. Her grown children find her maddening and hurtful but still important to them. The acting was subtle and true to life in a way that opera seldom is, for me anyway. And we were amazed at the clarity of the words sung by the cast from BU’s School of Music Opera Institute. (We got the “blond cast” and understood that there was also a “brunette cast” to give more students opportunities.)

We admired the variety of styles and moods in Heggie’s score, some of it wonderfully lyrical. Three Decembers had a libretto by Gene Scheer and was directed by Tomer Zulun. Allison Voth was music director. More here.

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