“Scratch Night” at the FringeArts Theater presents an assortment of talented artists developing new artwork, and the change from one artist to another is exciting.
This is an exercise for performers to share with the audience and time for any unfinished work to come to completion. It is like an open rehearsal and the FringeArts becomes a place that is crawling with artists. It is a chance for artists to share what they are working on and to perform alongside other artists working with similar themes. [FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Boulevard] May 1, 2017; fringearts.com.
In The Flannel Chucks, by Betty Smithsonian and Rob Alessian, a parody band sings about mayonnaise and how love is a condiment. The hilarity of this rendition of popular American music provided a moment of relaxation in the midst of political hysteria. It is when someone says, “this is funny” and you need a laugh that art is a cure for a person in distress.
We switch from this dramatic adaptation of love for mayo to the melodramatic promenade of Esther Baker and guitarist Nikia Camp in Baker and Tarpaga Dance Project’s A Letter to White America (above). Together they bring a certain shock value.
The scene changes as each artist brings a new piece to add to the mix. Scratch night at FringeArts is allowing for artists to experiment. The audience members opens their minds to new experiences. The commonality among creative people and the enjoyment in art is bringing all kinds of art together on the same stage.
Oliver Prince Dance Company shows a piece called Silencing the Tide (above), an interesting response for the former musical pieces. The group of dancers are in pairs, they begin to lose their footing, and they fall into the other dancer’s arms. This shows the body losing control, and epileptic tangents get lost in the darkness.
The lights come back on and out comes a Martian traveling the Milky way looking for love in Deeep Space Love Song, by Tolva. Tolva is in high heels, a classic little black dress, and approaches the audience, “have you ever been in love?” Tolva’s confidence helps us believe that there are no limits in outer space and encourages us to “step into the void.” It is a real David Bowie experience.
These performers not only bring together their own flare but the best parts from each performance sticks in our mind cohesively with the whole program. A play using dolls at the dinner table in Great Again by The Antidote turns to childish toys to mimic the desperation and destruction of Henrik Ibsen’s A Dolls House. The dinner table is set, the children are represented by a barbie doll, and this family’s dilemma is thrown into a dance lesson. It made me question the heckling that expresses a sexual desire and critiques gender, and also the leading role in a dance lesson.
The miming technique in Pre-Cut Shapes (above), by Sean Thomas Boyt and Meredith Stapleton, use paper cut outs to alter their appearance. The beginning of one piece may find a possible ending in the other artists’ illusions. Meredith Stapleton is carried off stage by her partner and these quick sketches are some of their gestures with silence being their only resistance it is hard to keep up.
[FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Boulevard] May 1, 2017; fringearts.com.