The New York International Fringe Festival, which takes over Manhattan's Lower East Side Aug. 19-30, is seeking volunteers. Those interested in helping should call Dave Calvitto at (212) 420-8877. Offers from one hour to one week's worth of assistance will be entertained. All volunteers will get free admission to Fringe shows.
During its run, the Fest will take over nearly every viable space on New York's Lower East Side, filling them with 144 productions hailing from across the country and around the world.
FringeNYC was founded in 1997 by John Clancy, artistic director of the Off-Off-Broadway troupe The Present Company; Aaron Beall, the executive director the Downtown performing and producing space Todo Con Nada; and Jonathan Harris, founder of the League of Fringe Theaters and co-founder of the first U.S. Fringe Festival in Seattle. Harris has since been replaced by Diane Paulus, director Project 400 Theater Group. Elena K. Holy is the producing director.
The festival has cut back a little from last year's total of 171 shows, though 144 could hardly be called a small showing. Among the international visitors are Singapore's Action Theatre, which will be presenting Mail Order Brides & Other Oriental Take-Aways, a look at indentured servitude; Gotraheen, a Hindu translation of Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge; and Get Outta Here, a production of The Guten Jungs of Wuerzburg, Germany.
Ironically, The Guten Jungs are not one of the eight groups which will be presenting works by Bertolt Brecht in commemoration of the German playwright's centennial. The offerings, presented under the blanket title of "The Brecht Centennial," include mounting of Caucasian Chalk Circle, Antigone, Baal, and Drums in the Night. Other shows of note include Chicago's Annoyance Theatre's So I Killed a Few People, Mark Lonergan's Tenement Vaudeville, John Jahnke's Lola Montez in Bavaria, Nada's production of Richard Foreman's Rhoda in Potatoland, and two productions of The Bald Soprano, by the Untitled Theater Co. #61 and Brat Productions. Also on the schedule are free live street performances and a series of panel discussions, workshops and conferences.
FringeNYC will be presented in a variety of spaces, including Nada, Surf Reality, Henry St. Settlement, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and House of Candles. Shows will be presented from 3:30 PM to 2 AM weekdays and from Noon to 2 AM weekends. All tickets for indoor productions are $11. For more information, call (212) 307-0229 or visit the web site at http://www.fringenyc.org.
-- By Robert Simonson