[Now in its second year, the New York International Fringe Festival takes over Manhattan's Lower East Side Aug. 19-30. More than 144 productions hailing from across the country and around the world will take part in the Fest, which occupies nearly every viable theatre space in the vicinity. As a way to keep up with the onslaught of offerings, in the days preceding the Fest, Playbill On-Line hopes to spotlight several unique or intriguing productions.]
Martini Ceremony at the Mazer Theatre, Aug. 19-27.
One highlight of this years' NYC Fringe would seem to be Martini Ceremony by the prestigious Saratoga International Theatre Institute (SITI). SITI was founded in 1992 by avant-garde director, Anne Bogart and renowned Japanese director, Tadashi Suzuki, in efforts to "redefine and revitalize contemporary theatre in the United States through an emphasis on international cultural exchange and collaboration."
SITI was originally envisioned as a summer training session in Saratoga Springs but has now expanded into a year-round training program, highlighting gesture and incorporating Bogart's "Viewpoints" training.
Martini Ceremony utilizes SITI's techniques to explore America's everlasting love relationship with the dean of swingers' drinks, the martini. Martini mixes the legends and history of this potent potable, so expect a serving up of "ritual formalism [in] an age bereft of meaning." SITI productions have included Bob at New York Theatre Workshop, The Medium, Marathon Dancing, Small Lives/Big Dreams, Going Going Gone, and the upcoming Culture of Desire (based on Andy Warhol) at NYTW.
Martini Ceremony opens Aug. 19 at the Mazer Theatre (197 East Broadway) and plays various dates through Aug. 27. For more information on the Fringe Festival, call (212) 420-8877. For tickets, call (888) Fringe NYC.
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 Harris has since been replaced by Diane Paulus, director Project 400 Theater Group.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.
-- By Sean McGrath