Chinatown, especially the Valley’s special brand of Chinatown, is not usually the place to find outsider art. But the Las Vegas Fringe Festival combats moo shu stereotypes by serving up back-to-back local productions of previously produced and original theater. From June 3-12, Las Vegas Little Theatre’s Mainstage and Black Box theaters will host everything from tales told to Hamlet’s hairstylist to a comedic take on Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery.”
The latter, Erica Griffin’s Casa de Nada, is local through and through. “Casa is a Vegas script, by a Las Vegas playwright, about Las Vegan characters, starring Las Vegas talent,” says play producer T.J. Larsen. Although you’re local and remember Jackson’s original short story, Casa could have you hoping some things wouldn’t happen so close to home.
Lanford Wilson’s Home Free features subject matter that might make Casa’s seem tame by comparison. Starring Shane Cullum and Rosalie Miletich-Ellis, the play deals with a beyond-close brother-sister dynamic. But, Cullum says, “One of the beautiful things about the script is that the two characters are so strange, the fact that they are in an incestuous relationship seems to be the least of their problems.”
Chaos Theatre’s Love Stories During the Armageddon of a Citrus Fruit isn’t as whimsical as it sounds. The plot seems a little like Waiting for Godot, if the foreboding in Beckett’s masterpiece had ever come to fruition.
The festival’s in-house production company lightens the mood with Bruce Kane’s Ruby of Elsinore, which tells Hamlet through confessions made to a hairstylist. “This play is presented in such an up-to-date way that even audiences who aren’t Shakespeare fans will appreciate it,” says Anthony Avery, who stars as Ruby.
Even if the audience doesn’t, with at least 11 total plays on the bill—and multiple showings of each per day—this year’s Fringe Festival should be even more diverse than previous editions. It also makes for a nice way to spend the night after that plate of lo mein.