Billing itself as “the festival of the wild, weird, fresh and original,” the seventh annual New Orleans Fringe Festival will take place from Nov. 19-23, mostly in Bywater and Faubourg Marigny.
Performances will include drama, comedy, dance, improv, pantomime, musical theater, circus arts, puppetry, storytelling and spoken word.
Productions are staged in small neighborhood theaters, outdoors in private yards and even in local bars.
A festival-record 82 productions scheduled this year are expected to yield about 350 total performances. Visit the festival’s website to see this year’s complete lineup and showtimes.
These developments are all good news to Kristin Evans, executive director and co-founder of the festival. “It’s all coming together very nicely so far,” Evans said. “We have an incredible geographical diversity from all over the U.S. coming to New Orleans,” she added, noting that the mix is about 50-50 local versus outside presenters.
One new development Evans is excited about is the first Fringe Procession of the Personal Saints. It replaces the Goodchildren Parade the festival sponsored along St. Claude Avenue for the first six years.
The festival organizers chose to downsize the event to a “procession,” which is governed by different rules under city ordinances.
The procession will only take in a few blocks in the vicinity of the main staging area on Architects Alley. “The whole idea is for people to have fun with it,” Evans said. “It’s a very short route, but we’ll take our time. No streets will be closed off. This is a marching club, so we just move out of the way when cars come, which is completely legal.”
Among the clever personal saints’ names that participants have come up with are “Blessed St. Okra of the Produce Truck,” “St. Elvis of the Vacated Building,” “St. Fats of the Dominoes,” “St. Kermit of the Swingers,” “Santa Barista of the Counter” and various takes on New Orleans Saints team members.
For the procession, Fringe has commissioned several groups of artists to produce a core of personal saint-inspired mobile visual art.
The procession will take place on Nov. 22, which is St. Cecilia’s Day. She is, coincidentally, the patron saint of music and musicians, Evans said.
Registration and participation are free.
A recurring event now in its fourth year is the Yard Art Tour, featuring roughly two dozen outdoor displays and installations. Those who take the tour can pick up YAT4 trading cards at each stop and turn them in for free beer and Fringe merchandise.
Kid-friendly Family Fringe activities will center around the Marigny Opera House at 725 St. Ferdinand Street on Nov. 22-23. There will be live performances, arts and crafts workshops, open mic, magic acts and readings from the New Orleans Public Library.
Evans noted the addition of two “Fringe-managed Venues” where performances will be taking place: the Zeitgeist Theater in Central City and the Old Iron Works in Bywater (a shuttle service will take festivalgoers to Zeitgeist and back).
These additions bring the number of managed venues to seven, which also includes the Shadowbox Theater, the Old Firehouse, the Marigny Opera House, Mardi Gras Zone and the Art Klub.
In addition to the managed venues, there will be about 30 “Bring Your Own Venues,” which will host roughly 50 BYOV shows.
Evans emphasized that the festival organizers are hoping to get higher attendance at the weekday night shows on Wednesday and Thursday, which are more sparsely attended than the weekend shows. “Those are two great days to see the shows that are playing. They don’t sell out on those days. People may not get to see the ones they want on the weekend if they wait until then.”
Seventh annual Fringe Festival
WHEN: Nov. 19-23
INFO: (504) 941-3640; www.nofringe.org
Fringe Festival highlights
“CAJUN FACE”: Actors/writers Sarah Mikayla Brown and Lian Cheramie, of Lafayette, present and perform this comedic, personal story of what it’s like to be Cajun in a quickly globalizing world. Old Firehouse, 718 Mandeville St. at 7 p.m. Nov. 19, 11 p.m. Nov. 21, 9 p.m. Nov. 22 and 7 p.m. Nov. 23. Ages 14 and up.
“THE WAKE”: A dark comedy about learning which things (and people) to bury and an exploration of unconditional love and human connection. Performed by Ben Moroski, of Los Angeles. Old Firehouse, 718 Mandeville St., at 9 p.m. Nov. 20, 9 p.m. Nov. 21, 7 p.m. Nov. 22 and 5 p.m. Nov. 23. Ages 18 and up.
“UNCOUTH”: High-energy excitement swirls between decadent layers of clowns, acrobatics and slapstick, as well as a crystal-studded fantasy world starring a bashful, brazen and very wayward ingénue. Performed by Windy Wynazz, of Oakland, California. Shadowbox Theatre, 2400 St. Claude Ave. at 9 p.m. Nov. 20, 9 p.m. Nov. 21, 7 p.m. Nov. 22 and 5 p.m. Nov. 23. Ages 14 and up.
“BULLET: A MIDWESTERN MURDER FANTASIA”: Inspired by the late 1950s Charles Starkweather-Caril and Ann Fugate spree-killing in Nebraska and Wyoming. Performed by TreeMan Productions, of Lincoln, Nebraska. Old Firehouse, 718 Mandeville St., at 9 p.m. Nov. 19, 5 p.m. Nov. 21, 11 p.m. Nov. 22 and 9 p.m. Nov. 23. Ages 14 and up.
“QUESTIONABLE ACTS”: Absurdist, performer-propelled neo-vaudeville by CB Goodman and Josh Rice. Performed by Questionable Acts Theatre Co., of New York City. Art Klub, 519 Elysian Fields, at 7 p.m. Nov. 20-21, 5 p.m. Nov. 22, 11 p.m. Nov. 23. Ages 14 and up.
“A BEAVERLICIOUS FAMILY AFFAIR”: Sideshow family, stripping granny, sexy panties and stapled fannies! This surreal sitcom features a day in the life of a door-to-door snake oil salesman, with aerial, burlesque and commercial breaks. Hi Ho Lounge, 2239 St. Claude Ave., at 9 p.m. Nov. 19, 9 p.m. Nov. 21-23. Ages 18 and up.
“A CITY OF SONGS”: Paris is filled with songs, from swinging hot jazz to the lovely, emotional chansons of Piaf, Brel and Gainsbourg. Come wander the magical City of Light with Bremner and his swinging band. At Byrdie’s, 2422 St. Claude Ave., Ste. A, at 7 p.m. Nov. 19-23.
“MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S WET DREAM”: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” New Orleans-style was created by the burlesque troupe that brought you “Arkham ASSylum: A Batman Burlesque Play.” At Mag’s, 940 Elysian Fields Ave., at 9 p.m. Nov. 21-23. Ages 18 and up.