After the New York Fringe Festival has packed up, San Francisco is readying itself for the City by the Bay's own version of an alternative theatre-a-thon. Sept. 4-15, the Fringe will present such fancifully titled fare as Beckett's Last Dance, Surfing Toasters and George Bush's Ball at the EXIT Theatre and various venues around the city.
An international and national Fringe Festival, San Francisco plays host to companies from around the world and around the States. Foreign entries include Australia's Tangled, Canada's The Upper Canada Cougar Movement and England's Death Blow.
From across the U.S. comes Hawaii's Smash Box in Guano dell'Amore (Birdshit of Love), New York's Banana, Bag & Bodice with Gulag Ha Ha and Los Angeles' Asian American sketch group OPM in Me Laugh You Long Time. Bay Area groups participating include Free Range Theatre Company with Surfing Toasters, Intelligent Vapor Production's Looking, Then Pointing and Theatre Artists' Conspiracy in Caught Sleeping.
The 20 Bring-Your-Own-Venue shows, created for those pieces whose length or technical requirements would not allow their involvement in the Fringe, include the Excelsior Theatrical Company's Gold Rush Era Shakespeare performance Cleopatra! — and Antony, My Son, the Mummy: Episode Pi and the adult puppet show, Zucchini: The Forbidden Dance.
Tickets are $8. All Fringe theatres are located in downtown San Francisco. For reservations, call (415) 931-1094. The San Francisco Fringe is on the web at http://www.sffringe.org. *
There will be a special benefit for the Fringe Aug. 22-24 entitled A Fifth of Arsenic and Old Lace. The evening of stage comedy, based on Joseph Kesslring's Arsenic and Old Lace, puts the classic play in the hands of five local directors who use the script as a jumping off point. Then all five pieces are woven together into one work, A Fifth of Arsenic and Old Lace. Last year, the Fringe did some similar fund raising, creating a A Sixth of Streetcar.
Tickets to A Fifth of Arsenic and Old Lace are $20. For reservations, call (415) 673-3847.
— By Christine Ehren