It took 50 years since the world's first fringe theatre festival (in Edinburgh, Scotland), but Houston, TX, will now have its own. Beginning April 23 and running to May 31, Theater LaB Houston will launch the first Houston Fringe Theatre Festival, featuring four main events and secondary shows at DiverseWorks and Artspace.
Theater LaB Houston producing director Gerald Blaise LaBita called the festival "a great opportunity for Houston audiences to experience theatrical performances that have not come to Houston through more conventional programming. We hope this will become an annual festival."
Though these days Edinburgh offers over 1,000 events at its fringe fest, Houston will start with these:
The Top Of The Bottom Half, "An Evening With The Keeper Of All Knowledge," by Katherine Griffith & Liza Vann. Vann, born seventh in a family of 12, stars in this solo look at family life. (April 23-26)
Joe Chvala & The Flying Foot Forum. Dance theatre in the tradition of Stomp and Tap Dogs. (May 2-4)
The Vagina Monologues Eve Ensler's hit Off-Off-Broadway solo comes to Houston. The show is based on interviews with a diverse group of women discussing the "mystery, humor, pain, power, wisdom, outrage and excitement...of women's vaginas." (May 28-31) An Evening Of Righteous Women Raging; Righteous Women Rising. This is a collective title for three black solo performers: Niobe' Ngozi, Joni Lee Jones and Rise Collins. Ngozi's Shout A Little Louder tells of a "tender little black girl who becomes a strong/tender warrior woman." Through poetry, drums and dance, Jones' Sista Docta examines the complexities of being an African-American woman professor. Collins' May Contemplation "celebrates and mourns life and death. Beauty. Gay performance artist Steven Patterson offers an homage to Jean Genet (complete with nudity and an examination of Genet's prison years). (May 14-17).
For subscriptions to the Festival ($50 for one ticket to all five events) and other information call (713) 868-7516.
--By David Lefkowitz