by Marcus Kaye ~
Last night, The Fringe Opening Night party went off with a bang amidst a flurry of show postcards, networking performers and, most importantly, Fringe Central sangria. Arriving with Adam Sass, a member of the Crooked Rooks (whose show is featured in the festival), I found myself sauntering up to the bar for my first cup of the delicious elixir and much to my surprise, got a dollar off because of my Fringe Button. That dollar would be put to good use on another glass of sangria (and another and another).
Located at Fringe Central, the opening night party featured performance artists in several of the theatres in the area. Many of the over 200 fringe shows were represented, be it in cabaret, attendance, or postcard.
In hot pink tights and black flapper dresses, The Damselles, a 60s doo-wop style trio, harmonized on the main stage. Later, an excerpt of Lost Moon Radio was performed that showcased a comedic reading of a truth or dare game gone horribly wrong. Fringe Disco opened in the annex and in the tent a variety of cabaret performances took the stage. Magic, music, burlesque. The last of which took me by complete surprise. At the time, I think I was speaking with Jacquetta Szathmari about her comedic solo show, That’s Funny. You Didn’t Sound Black on the Phone, and out of the corner of my eye I saw a pair of breasts, out for the world to see. They belonged, of course, to the burlesque performer, but the party patrons were so wrapped up in their networking that little attention was paid to the performers in the tent resulting in surprise when the performers were unexpectedly naked.
The party was abuzz with networking and conversation. Jovial theatre people in a room with sangria are chatty, friendly and eager to get you to see their work. Hunter Lee Hughes, whose film, Winner Takes All is playing as a part of the film line-up in the festival, took me to the room where all the trailers were showing, and Michael Boynton, the writer of The Many Women of Troy filled me in on their trip from DC to LA. His group, The Pallas Theatre Collective, were impressed that this was only the Hollywood Fringe’s second year. To them, it came across like “a well oiled machine.” The party itself was a well liquored machine.
Filled to the brim with joy, sangria and the tunes of the jazz band on the stage, I hummed to myself as I left fringe central with scores of postcards in my pocket, a balloon hat on my head and an empty cup in my hand. Here’s to a great fringe opening, and an even greater fringe!