Christmas may get the song lyric, but for this theater junkie, Fringe season is the most wonderful time of the year. The Fringe Festival celebrates a DIY, risk-taking aesthetic, rewarding shows that take bold choices and give artists a chance to truly shine.
This year’s Fringe runs June 5-14 at Las Vegas Little Theatre. Shows I’m excited to see include: Endless Productions’ Bard Fiction, a Shakespearean adaptation of Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction; LVLT’s production of The New Century, an outrageous look at the peculiarities of gay life in the modern era; and solo pieces like Spared from FounDoor Theatre, a dark look at a man who has failed to kill himself 60 times, and Journey of a Bombshell, featuring Melissa Ritz, who won Best Emerging Actress at New York City’s United Solo Festival for this show.
The piece I’m most excited about comes from Poor Richard’s Players. It’s called Never Tie Your Shoelaces in Paris, and Maxim Lardent, instigator of the whole thing, describes it as “a troupe of actors try to perform 30 plays in 60 minutes or die trying.”
The troupe—Lardent, Benjamin Loewy, Anthony Barnaby, Mark Valentin, Karalyn Clark and Brenna Folger—also wrote all the plays, winnowing them down from a starting pool of more than 100 to just 30. The plays all last between 30 seconds and four minutes, but can be quite complex. “We have musicals, dance numbers, everything,” Loewy says.
The plays are titled (Deux Balloons C’est Touche, Departure and The Time My Dad Accidentally Bought Me Some Porn, for example) but they’re also numbered. The audience calls out a number, and the troupe performs that play. The process repeats until they finish them all, or the timer runs out. “As soon as 60 minutes hits, we’re done. We’ll stop mid-play if the alarm goes off,” Lardent says.
“The Fringe is the place where you can do productions that are not necessarily on the beaten path of theater,” Loewy adds. “And this is 30 of those shows.”
Vegas Fringe Festival June 5-14, $10-$12. Las Vegas Little Theatre, 702-362-7996.