Voices from Chornobyl Jr. and Hog Riot! at the Hollywood Fringe Festival

Voices from Chornobyl Jr. is a children’s version of Cindy Marie Jenkins’s Voices from Chornobyl. Since Cindy is a fellow blogger here on lafpi, I was very excited to see her work off the computer screen.

Voices from Chornobyl Jr. is about the Chornobyl Nuclear Meltdown as seen by a nine year old girl named Katya. The disaster happened twenty-five years ago, but recent events at Fukushima have brought nuclear power and its dangers back into public consciousness.

As Katya (beautifully played by Kappa Victoria Wood, an adult actress) both experiences and tells her story, we come to understand that radiation, though invisible, retains a power to hurt even decades after the meltdown.

The short play ends with a question and answer session with the audience as information about nuclear energy is passed between actors and spectators. Yes, a children’s play about nuclear radiation might seem odd, but that’s what makes its presence in the Fringe Festival so darn cool .

Another play with history told from a female point of view is Hog Riot! set during the hog riots of 1826 in lower Manhattan. I didn’t know about this historical happening, so I was intrigued. Hogs? Really?

 Nearly two hundred years ago, hogs were allowed to roam the streets of Manhattan freely until the Common Council issued an ordinance requiring pigs be penned or rounded up by a hog catcher. But! Does government have the right to issue such an ordinance? What of the poor pig girls who can’t afford to build pens for their hogs?

Hog Riot! focuses on the young pig girls. It is not about men and their power plays. Instead we see history unfold from the point of view of the girls on the street. The five leads (Olivia Kamalski, Milan Learned, Sullivan Long, Melissa Lozano, Mizuki Sako) are between the ages of 13 and 15 with two adult actors (Olivia Briggs and Maarten Cornelis) and a butcher violinist (Max Bogrov) rounding out the cast. The young actresses bring a lot of energy and fun to the proceedings.

Hog Riot! was written and directed by Laurel Long for her company, Dollface Ensemble. Laurel started Dollface Ensemble to create artistic opportunities for young female theatre artists and to empower them to eventually create their own opportunities. The Dollface Ensemble plays focus on a historical event told from a young female point of view.

Voices from Chornobyl Jr. will be playing at the Annex Space at the Fringe Central on Saturday, June 25th at 1pm and Sunday, June 26th at 1pm at at 6569 Santa Monica Blvd. Tickets are $10. You can get tickets from the Fringe website, www.hollywoodfringe.org.  You can also visit the show’s website at: www.voicesfromchornobyl.com

The last performance of Hog Riot! will be on Saturday, June 25th at 2pm at the Arena Stage Theatre at 1625 N. Las Palmas (just south of Hollywood Blvd in Hollywood). Tickets are $10, and you can get tickets from the Fringe website (www.hollywoodfringe.org).

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