- Reporters Desk
By John Farrell
It’s time again for the Hollywood Fringe Festival, the celebration of all things theatrical that has become an annual rite for theater fans, for theater performers, and for over-worked stage crews.
It began officially on June 12 (though there were performances before that date) and closes on June 29 (though there are, again, performances after that date as well.)
More than 1,500 performances are scheduled in more than 30 theaters from Hollywood Boulevard on the north to Melrose Boulevard on the south, from Gardner Street in the west to east of Western Avenue, with many theaters centered in an eight-block long section of Santa Monica Blvd. You can take the train and bus to the fun and see several plays without walking more than a few blocks – four or five a day, if you’ve got the sitzfleisch to endure.
The Hollywood Fringe is based on the original Edinburgh Fringe Festival, but with a twist: Hollywood is home to more actor/waiters than anywhere else, and the Hollywood version includes many small plays where actors are trying to be noticed and are eager to here your reviews.
And there is plenty to see. The Asylum Theatre complex, just west of Vine Street, is a hive of activity, with musical and serious play co-existing, with stage crews sitting outside waiting for their chance: the plays have to set up in 15 minutes and have to be knocked down just as fast. You see ficus trees, a band load of musical instruments and plenty of trunks sitting there waiting for their moment of fame.
The Hudson Theatres down the road and The Complex right across from Fringe Central are just as busy. You can see a play, walk across the street for a drink and go see another play without any problem (except the drivers who invariably run the red lights on Santa Monica.
Three days of play-going over the Festival’s first weekend brought these reviews: No guarantee the best were seen (with a schedule so full you can’t see everything. More to follow.