As of Friday at 7:00 pm, the San Francisco Fringe Festival is open, with three shows happening simultaneously in three theaters, for the next three weekends. Everything happens at EXIT Theatre, a four block walk from Union Square. The Fringe Facebook page is humming with messages about what’s going on, and the Fringe’s popular ‘Review Page’ is already logging audience reviews of the first shows to hit the stage.
About Eleanor Mason Reinholdt’s parenthood vs. non-parenthood drama ‘Force of Nature,’ audience member Leandra Gets says, “Eleanor bravely opens up her experience to the audience, in a way that is at times funny, sweet, heartbreaking and raw.” Marin Van Young adds, “Eleanor is a beautiful performer and writer, and this is important stuff.”
Another show, Sha Sha Higby’s ‘Paper Wings,’ has so far collected just one review, but it’s a good one.
Writes Sara K. “If you want a traditional show which has a clearly defined plot with dialogue … this is not the show for you. This show is what the description says it is – a living sculpture. That is, a combination of masks, puppets, props, and costumes, all made by hand by the performer, put into motion, with sound and projections.” She writes a bit more, then concludes, “It is clearly a labor of love, full of inventive creative touches. Recommended.”
Sara K. (a frequent viewer!) also saw Debra Watassek’s one-woman-show ‘Night Cap Melody (How one step at a time became a dance)’, her autobiographical story of caring for her musician father at the end of his life. About the show, Sara K. writes, “Most of the time, when I read/hear about caregiving to Alzheimer’s patients, it’s about how much of a burden it is. However [in this show] Debbie clearly tells that there is much more to it than that – there is both Debbie’s ongoing relationship to the father she had known, as well as her new relationship with what her father had become. I think she makes the point very well that life is short, and though caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s may seem to be a waste of precious life, for her, it became rewarding in its own way.” Another viewer, Tracey K., writes, “Poignant, moving, sad, funny all describe this one woman show about taking care of an aging parent with Alzheimer’s. Debbie did a fantastic job of showing us who her father was and how her relationship with him changed with the disease. A couple opening night bumps here and there and a few anecdotes that went on too long, but that didn’t stop me from becoming enrapt in her story and in tears at the end.”
And about the show ‘Get No Place Fast,’ featuring Grace Booth and Julianna Frick in a tragic-comic post-apocalyptic vaudeville, Sam B. says, “I’m already a huge fan of Juliana Frick’s performances, I was excited to experience GET NO PLACE FAST. And she and Grace Booth did not disappoint- within less than 60 minutes, this perfect duo craft moments of gut-busting hilarity, deeply tragic pathos and spectacular acrobatics. They’ve got great comedic chops and tremendous characters that reveal a vulnerable human edge. SEE IT!”
Tomorrow, not only do I get to perform ‘Wretch Like Me’ for the first time at the Fringe (hopefully earning a few juicy reviews of my own), I get to actually sit down and see some other performer’s shows, and then I will start to add my own thoughts and descriptions to the Fringe Festival’s review page.
Wretch Like Me plays
Sunday, Sept. 13, 4:00 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 18, 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 20, 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 24, 7:00 p.m.