Monday, August 24, 2009

Review of 2009 NYC Fringe Festival Events

New York City’s Annual Fringe Festival is a chance for artists to come together to showcase what they have been working on to friends, family, industry and theater fans. I attended two shows at the Connelly Theater on the East Side at this year’s festival to see if there was anything out there that our school groups might enjoy seeing in future seasons and I was pleasantly surprised. The first show, Sinking Ship Production’s Powerhouse, is the story of composer Raymond Scott and his passion in discovering new ways to create music. Actually, the entire play leads up to his invention of “The Electronium” (a machine that produced sounds and melodies randomly so you could always listen to something new). The show, which naturally incorporated a lot of Scott’s own music along with other sounds of the time, was well done and well acted with some very amusing puppets acting out the cartoons that Scott had composed for (even though sometimes I wasn't really sure what the puppets were doing). It was touching and I laughed, but I don’t think school groups would be too interested in seeing this show with slightly more adult themes.

Later that day I got to see a great musical version of the Edgar Allan Poe classic, The Fall of the House of Usher from the Woodberry Forest School. When I decided to go see it, I thought, as I’m sure many high schoolers think, that Poe is going to be dark and depressing and kind of boring. I was pleasantly surprised. The music covered several different genres and added a definite tone to the show that helped the audience get into the mindset of the original poet who wrote over 200 years ago. I was impressed with the acting and how passionate they were in their roles and how exciting it was compared to other Poe works, such as “The Raven”. I thought this version is one that high schoolers could very much enjoy if they don’t think so much that they are “learning.”

All in all, I think it was a pretty successful first outing at the Fringe Festival. I enjoyed both shows and got to see what people in the industry were doing. The Festival only runs until August 30th, but I’m already looking forward to next year.

–Jenn Cunha, Education

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