Friday, June 22, 2012

LAUGHTER, TEARS & THE RIGHT STUFF • ST. LOU FRINGE

In case you haven't heard, there's a Fringe festival going on right now in St. Louis!  Before I get into that, let me give you a quick review of the show I saw earlier tonight.
The West End Players Guild is presenting three short plays written by Stephen Peirick for the Fringe Festival entitled Laughter, Tears and the Right Stuff.  The first play, The Right Stuff, is a rollicking peek at three women who are reliving their high-school days, camping out for concert tickets.  Why camp out when there's the internet?  Unnecessary?  Maybe.  But all of the girls end up enjoying their throwback days on the sidewalk.  (I totally did that for Prince and the Revolution tickets once.)  The second play, The Goodbye Party, takes a serious turn as Lilly (Emily Baker) tries to cope with her loss in the midst of a wake.  The last play, The Third Time, looks at the humorous challenges of a couple who find themselves, for the third time, at the fertility clinic.  This is a really brief description of the plays (apologies), but trust me, all of Peirick's plays that I've seen are quality.  He has a way of sucking you in by slowly peeling away the layers of his characters and their various situations, that you almost can't help but become invested in them.  All of the performances are also top notch (Stephanie Merritt, Sarajane Alverson, Ann Hier, Emily Baker, Nancy Nigh and Jason Meyers).  Definitely worth checking out.  It was a great Fringe kickoff for me, and I hope to see more plays during the weekend.

So, about this Fringe business…  It's great!  Honestly, I just get a kick out of the fact that this is going on here.  It's been done before, albeit on a smaller scale, but although it hasn't been hugely advertised, this five day jammed-packed Fringe fest offers a lot, including over 30 wildly varying performances, featuring some local companies as well as artists from all over the country, four performance spaces, not to mention all of the stuff going on in between shows like drum circles, street painting, face and body painters, fire dancers, slam poets and more!  Plus the after parties starting at 10pm.  I know, right?!

Step one is to check out their website.  Everything is there, but I'll give a little breakdown here of some of the particulars.  Everything starts at “Fringeland” located at 3141 Locust.  Here's a map for your bearings.  At Fringeland you pay 5 bucks for a nifty little button that allows you access to the shows.  Then you pay for the individual shows, but none of the shows are over $12.  Another cool thing about these buttons is that once you get yours, you're offered rewards at restaurants, hotels, and great discounts that keep on giving when St. Lou Fringe is over.  You can get a printout of these rewards and discounts at Fringeland.  You'll also get a little paper that fills you in on some background info., venue breakdowns, and the schedule of shows and workshops.  Once you've figured out what you wanna see and you're equipped with your stylish button and tickets, it's time to fringe!

Did I mention the after parties?

I've never posted a blog this quickly, so I'm sure I've inevitably left a lot out.  As always, comments are welcome, so please leave them if you like, in addition to more info. you may have about the Fringe and your own Fringe experience!  Seriously, check it out this weekend if you can.  It promises to be a great time in the city!  Kudos to the organizers of St. Lou Fringe, including (but not exclusively) Em Piro, Billy Croghan, Tara Daniels, Tom Martin, Lauren Garvey, Sherre Waggoner and Toni Roper.

Now go get your Fringe on this weekend!


LAUGHTER, TEARS & THE RIGHT STUFF
Written by Stephen Peirick
Directed by Stephen Peirick & Tina Farmer
Cabaret Space at the Kranzberg Arts Center, 501 North Grand Blvd.
through June 25 | tickets: $5 plus $5 for the Fringe button.
Cast:
Stephanie Merritt (Melissa), Sarajane Alverson (Bridget/Belinda), Ann Hier (Tracy/Julie), Emily Baker (Lilly), Nancy Nigh (Brenda) and Jason Meyers (Rick).

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