The New York International Fringe Festival will draw to a close Aug. 27, after providing the city with 12 days of nearly non-stop theatre. This year's event, which began Aug. 16, sported over 180 attractions, house in the usual array of East Village and Lower East Side theatres and venues.
Shows hail from Chile, India, France, German, Mexico, Austria and six others countries will journey to Manhattan this August. U.S. acts will come from such states as Kentucky, Georgia and Texas. As in previous years, there was also FringeAlFresco (outdoor street performances), FringeU (panels and discussions) and FringeJr (kids activities) offerings.
Among the more notable attractions were:
• C.V.R. (Charlie Victor Romeo), Collective Unconscious' sleeper Off-Off-Broadway hit of last season returns. The gripping docu-drama, winner of two Drama Desk awards, creates theatre out of the real transcripts of black box recordings from planes which have crashed.
• The Complete Lost Works of Samuel Beckett as Found in an Envelope (Partially Burned) in a Dustbin in Paris Labeled: Never to Be Performed. Never. Ever. EVER! Or I'll Sue! I'LL SUE FROM THE GRAVE!!!, by Theatre Oobleck and the NeoFuturists, Fringe favorites and creators of Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind and K. Zaniness included one piece between a human brain (in a jar) and its keeper, and another purported to be Beckett's very first play: "Happy, Happy Bunny Meets Sad, Sad Owl." . • Stage Door, by Salt Theatre on New York. From the looks of it, this mounting of Kaufman and Ferber's comedy, featuring a cast of 27 and director Emma Griffin, is a straightforward production, sans gimmicks of any kind. Can it be?
• Tiny Ninja Theatre Presents Macbeth, in which over a hundred inch-high plastic figures, overseen by a puppeteer, enacted the Scottish Play on a miniature black stage in under 40 minutes. Only 10 people, armed with opera glasses, were allowed into each performance.
The venues being used in this year's Fringe include the Present Company Theatorium (198 Stanton Street), which acts as the festival's center of operations, The Henry Street Settlement, University Settlement, Surf Reality, Collective Unconscious, Context, WOW Cafe, Rod Rodgers Studio, Paradise, The Kraine Theatre, Red Room, St. Mark's Studio Theatre, Charas/El Bohio (which houses five separate spaces) and Pace University's Schaeberle Studio Theatre.
Tickets for all shows are $12 (kids under 12, seniors and locals, $7); a five-show pass is $55; a ten-show pass, $100; a Lunatic Pass, for access to everything, $350. For more information of the Fringe, call (212) 420 8877, or consult the website at www.fringenyc.org.
In other news, the New York International Fringe Festival can soon be found between two covers. Lending some permanency to the annual event - which floods the Manhattan theatre scene each August with scores of productions from New York City, the U.S. and abroad -- The New York Theatre Experience, Inc. and The Present Company, Inc., will collaborate on "Plays from the New York International Fringe Festival 2000." The volume, containing nine scripts, will hit stores in November.
The Present Company produces the Fringe Festival, which is now in its fourth year. The New York Theatre Experience, meanwhile, is the child of critic, publisher, and all-around theatre entrepreneur Martin Denton. Denton founded his own website, called the New York Theatre Experience, a few years ago and began single-handedly reviewing every show in New York, with a special concentration on Off-Off-Broadway.
Denton ventured into publishing in early 1999 with "The New York Theatre Experience -- Book of the Year 1998," a collection of his reviews and articles. Then, in January of this year, he published "Plays and Playwrights for the New Millennium," an anthology of new plays by little-known dramatists, edited with an introduction by Denton. [Full disclosure: a play by this writer is included in the volume.]
"Plays from the New York International Fringe Festival 2000" will feature preface by festival artistic director, John Clancy and an introduction by Denton. The selected works are:
Cuban Operator Please... by Adrian Rodriguez
DNA by Christina Gorman
Eleven Dollar Prophet by Antonio Sacre
Fag/Hag by Kate Nugent and Joe Salvatore
House of Trash by Trav S.D.
Velvet Ropes by Joshua Scher
Why Mud Flaps? by Ellen K. Anderson
Whywork.com by Marc Meyers
Word to Your Mama by Julia Barclay
Pre-orders ($20 including shipping and handling) are available from The New York Theatre Experience, Inc., P.O. Box 744, Bowling Green Station, New York, NY 10274-0744, or by contacting http://www.nytheatre.com.
--By Robert Simonson