#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: I Came to Make Noise

by Chris Farah

Quick peeks at #HFF18’s “Women on the Fringe” by Fringe Femmes who are behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins

Fringe Femmes

WHO: Carrie Mikuls

WHAT: I Came to Make Noise

WHERE: Lounge Theatre 1 6201 Santa Monica Blvd. LA, CA 90038

WHY: Hurry! Only 1 more performance left of this fringe diversity scholarship winning feminist show! Powerfully blending beautiful choreography, spoken word and a fierce yet supportive beatboxer, I Came to Make Noise speaks to the struggle, diversity and universality of the American woman. Get tickets now for Saturday, June 23, 6:00 PM and you can get 20% off with discount code: MAKENOISE

HOW: http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/4903

Thanks a lot, Jennie Webb! (Or) How I Got to be SO Busy…

Hey, it’s me, Tiffany! The used-to-live-in-LA-but-now-I-live-in-Iowa playwright who launched Little Black Dress INK, had a baby, and then (because I wasn’t busy enough – duh) started Protest Plays Project too.  I’m pretty much busy ALL THE TIME now, and it got me to thinking…

It’s all Jennie Webb’s fault.

She’s the one who invited me to the first LAFPI meeting all those years ago.  The meeting where I got a taste of she-playwright POWER and decided I needed MORE!  I knew I was moving to AZ, far away from my cherished playwright coven, but what the hell?  If Jennie Webb (with Laura Shamas) could unite the female playwrights of Los Angeles, I could certainly found and operate a female playwright producing company in Arizona, right?!

RIGHT!

And now we’re in our 7th year.  We’ve just announced 2019’s Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Theme. I’ve been privileged to get to know a ton of amazing female playwrights from all around the country (along with some international playwrights as well!)  It’s been a hell of a ride, and a TON of work, but it’s also been totally worth it.

But I wanted to do MORE, remember? Especially since I was politically mortified with the results of the 2016 election.  So I founded Protest Plays Project (PPP).  My initial aim was to collect plays about social issues that theatre-activists could use for protest or fundraising* purposes.  (*Specifically, fundraising for non-profits working for positive social change.)

Well, PPP has been busy.  Super busy.

And I want to take the start of my blogging week to tell you how you can get involved, in case you’re that kind of theatremaker!

First, we’ve got our #TheatreActionVOTE! Initiative going on and all you have to do to get involved is commit to presenting Vote! plays or monologues in your pre-show.

You can write your own piece for this purpose, or select pieces from our Collection.  The plays in our collection are:

  • Non-Partisan
  • 1-3 minutes in length
  • Available royalty free
  • Written to be presented pre-show in whatever location works for your theatre

You can sign your theatre up to participate HERE.  (It’s free, it’s easy, and we won’t spam you!)

We’re also collecting plays on Immigration.  The AMAZING LA playwright, Diana Burbano along with the awesome playwright Ricardo Soltero-Brown, are curating the collection – and we’ll be encouraging theatres to present readings for fundraisers.  You can find more info and send us your play, HERE.

Protest Plays continues to support #TheatreActionGunControl and if you want to put up a reading, we have links to a number of excellent collections on our website!

But does it ever feel like enough?  Does political theatre work?  Can we truly effect change with passionately written, socially conscious plays? I plan on examining these questions later this week, right here, on the LAFPI blog.

So stay tuned, stay connected, and if you see Jennie Webb – hug that wild woman for me!

~Tiffany

 

#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: The Runaway Clone

by Chris Farah

Quick peeks at #HFF18’s “Women on the Fringe” by Fringe Femmes who are behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins

Fringe Femmes

WHO: Pam Eberhardt

WHAT: The Runaway Clone

WHERE: The Broadwater (Second stage) 6320 Santa Monica Blvd

WHY: In the textbook definition of an absurd, wickedly funny and original fringe musical, writer/actress Pam Eberhardt shines as mad supervillian CEO of “The Agency,” Laura, who matches people with clones. Then one day newish clone Margot, played by the vocally gifted Katharine Washington, starts to have memories of her original life and escapes. What ensues is mayhem, catchy counterpoint songs, and fabulously snappy dialogue, all in a fast-paced rollercoaster as each character’s wants and dreams collide. You don’t want to miss this show!

HOW: http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/5208

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Magic

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Cynthia Wands

Recently I’ve been looking through family photographs, and I’m astounded what powerful reminders they are. They seem to tell just a momentary fraction of all the worlds that collide in a photograph. There’s an element of disbelief in them (“Did she look like that?” “Wait – wasn’t that in Idaho?” “Who is that person?”).

Very much like the scripts we write and watch and remember, there’s an invisible world that also inhabits those images.

I’m writing something now that could be called “magical realism”.  Or, as I also call it, “real magicalism”.  I’m drawn to those memories in theatre where magic happened, whether it was a beautiful light cue, or an unexpected vision. Or an actor who found a moment of surprising vulnerability.

So now, in my writing, I’m looking to find the magical elements – in life – and onstage.

In my life at home I can find a brief moment of the supremely unexpected, the whimsical, the forcefully alien ideas. There’s also horror, and dark surprises, and a refrigerator that makes sounds at night that makes you think an axe murderer is at the door. (The refrigerator only does this at night.) (That must be it’s magic.)

At the moment I’m watching our tribe of hummingbirds duel over the seven feeders that they visit dozens of times during the day. They glitter like jewels in the full sun, then vanish with a zip toward the next feeder. They squeak and chirp and sound like a squeaky bicycle. But their magic, (flying backwards!), their fierce swashbuckler posturing (“This is mine! All mine!”) and their greedy gusto, is so unexpected and comic. We have names for the some of them: Me Too, Achilles, Tuffie Five, Tuffie Six, Merlin, Big Boy.

So there’s a bit of magic that I’m watching tonight.  I haven’t figured out how I could cast a hummingbird in my play.  But maybe there’s some kind of magic in thinking about it.

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#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: Charlotte’s World

by Constance Strickland

Quick peeks at #HFF18’s “Women on the Fringe” by Fringe Femmes who are behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins

Fringe Femmes

WHO​: Fiona Lakeland 

WHAT: Charlotte’s World or The Lone Terrarium

WHERE: Theatre of NOTE

WHAT​: There is something special about walking into a tiny theatre knowing you are about to see a new work created in the DIY style. This is how theatre magic manifests, in simple sets, props created by the actor, a body willing to walk into the unknown… the non-predictable physical journey is thrilling. This is what Fiona gives to her work, gives to her audience: All of herself. All of her fears. All of her excitement.

Even the way her right hand shakes in a moment reveals an indescribable energy that travels and affects the heart in a subtle way. I swear your breath will find stillness as you witness a swing, swaying back and forth onstage.  Even without Fiona sitting upon the swing, it takes you back to the days of your childhood when you ran free with no worries, and fears never settled in the mind too long. You didn’t need to think about it,  it just was a way of living… because you believed anything was possible. You didn’t have to seek out confirmation or read daily affirmations that you would be all right. You just knew you could do anything once you put your mind to it! What a gorgeous reminder for the adult heart, mind and soul.

Go witness. Go live in Charlotte’s World! I even have the audacity to say this is the Spirit of Fringe 2018.

HOW: To purchase tickets and learn more about the play visit http://hff18.org/5006

 

#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: Play On!

by Chris Farah

Quick peeks at #HFF18’s “Women on the Fringe” by Fringe Femmes who are behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins

Fringe Femmes

WHO: Laura Jo Trexler

WHAT: Play On! A Musical Romp with Shakespeare’s Heroines

WHERE: The Hobgoblin Playhouse (Main Stage) 6520 Hollywood Blvd.

WHY: Laura Jo commands a stage with this nuanced and beautifully simple show full of original songs based on Shakespeare’s women. She bounces from the minds and desires of sweet Juliet (“I Shouldn’t Look at You”), to saucy Olivia (“Let’s Get a Room”), then delivers an unrelentingly devious and desperate Lady Macbeth Monologue in what feels like one long swimmer’s breath. With abundant ease and passionate soul, this master pianist/songwriter/vocalist/actress has created a fringe show NOT TO BE MISSED. I am a fan, you will be too and you’ll want her CD too. Get thee to Hobgoblin Playhouse for her last three performances!

HOW: http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/5402

#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: Fort Huachuca

by Constance Strickland

Quick peeks at #HFF18’s “Women on the Fringe” by Fringe Femmes who are behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins

Fringe Femmes

WHO​: Ailema De Sousa

WHAT​: Fort Huachuca

WHERE: The Complex Theatres, 6448 Santa Monica Blvd

WHY: This is a play that quietly sneaks up on you. The dialogue,  fresh and natural,  starts to feel as though you’re secretly binging on your favorite tv show, too late at night with popcorn. The cast of actors  – Nicole De Sousa, Natalia Elizabeth, Ashlee Olivia Jones, Resheda D. Terry, Ailema De Sousa, Darnell Williams, Charles Nkrumah Jr. and Benjamin Colbourne – throw themselves into this beautiful play and your heart feels it for a long time after. Fort Huachuca is a specific military history unknown to quite a few, which is what makes this play by Sousa so very special. Sousa’s play takes the viewer into the lives of five African-American women who served as nurses during World War II on an Arizona Army base.

There is something uplifting about seeing these wonderful actresses onstage who happen to all be Black women. As the songs are sung, the use of light sweeps you into their world immediately. A play that allows each actress to showcase herself while being a true ensemble piece is not easy, but director Amen Igbinosun manages to execute this. I was born and raised in Arizona and never once did I hear about these women’s contributions; that is why this story is necessary. It does not allow the stories of the women of Fort Huachuca to disappear and go untold. It shines a bright light on them and the actresses bask in the glory of this intimate history. As I walked out of the theatre back into the world I could not find words instead only a history of tears streamed down my face.

HOW: To purchase tickets and learn more about the play visit http://hff18.org/4897

 

Where is the end?

I like to call myself an accidental writer.  I didn’t start out wanting to write plays, blog postsr essays, but I always wrote.  I don’t know if I’ve  told you this before, but I, up until recently, had a 3-inch binder full of hand written things on different sizes paper with different incarnations of my handwriting.  It wasn’t like a scrapbook, more of a reminder of what I used to do for fun.  A collection of angsty teen poems that now make me laugh and smile as the memories of those people come flooding back.  This collection is now housed on my hard as I scanned it all to make moving easier and lighter and instead of a binder I now have a collection of tiny notebooks that I bought on sale at Vromans.  I couldn’t pass up the crying tiger.
These notebooks are littered with with half started ideas, and notes from books and websites I have read all in the hopes of finishing something.  I bought four of them in the hopes they would fill quickly with new musings as my hopes to write daily.  Years later I’m finally on my 4th notebook.  It has taken me a long time to get here.  I went through book one the other day and wondered who this author was?  I must have copied “that” from somewhere, I think as I read it.  Who is this person?  Then as I read on, I find the sarcastic humour and inside jokes that I tell and I am reminded that yes, Jennifer you have some moments and why aren’t you sharing this with the world.  What is stopping you?  I also realize that I have to quit thinking of things as accidents.  Writing has obviously always been a part of me, as witnessed in the binder and notebook collection.  I hesitate to call myself a writer because nothing has ever felt finished.  It’s a wonder I finish blog posts. Or maybe I don’t even finish those, come to think of it…Because there is always more to the story that I start writing about and then get caught up in my thoughts and hems and haws and never quite feel complete.  I am getting better.  I think.  Instead of one hapless page of notes, I now try and complete a thought before I stop writing. Maybe I am subconsciously wanting to engage the reader?  Wanting to talk about the world around us in a non-threatening way, and in this digital age it is so much easier to hide behind the anonymity of the internet.  To hide behind an avatar or a picture of you from 5 years ago.  To feel warm and safe when the trolls come out to play.  Maybe that’s why I don’t finish anything?  Because my fear of the discussions I want to have are outweighed by the fear of someone actually reading my stuff…
Yet here I am getting ready to hit “post” on this mishmosh of thoughts.

Until next time,

Jennifer

All Hail Fringe Femmes! Meet Natalia Elizabeth

By Constance Strickland

This Fringe season welcomes a thrilling group of women from varied backgrounds and experiences, making this an exciting and by far one of the most diverse Hollywood Fringe Festivals ever! I wanted to take this week to share the voices of these women who will be sharing pieces of themselves this June at a variety of local theatres along Theatre Row.

The power of the LAFPI is the ability it has to bring women of all ages and different backgrounds together to share our love for the theatre. Our last blog features a powerful and rarely spoken of history told from the heart by Natalia Elizabeth. 

Fort Huachuca:

A debut production, written by emerging actress and playwright Ailema Sousa.

Set in Arizona, on an army base camp. The play is a looking glass into the contributions and sacrifices made by the first African-American women’s army auxiliary corps (WAAC’s) during the Second World War. A concept created two years ago, ignited by the lack of representation of women of color during this pivotal point in history, the playwright discovered some of their untold stories. The stories of five, African American women who were the first among few to enlist in the 1940’s amidst a still-segregated America. Battling racism, sexism, discrimination at a time when a woman’s voice had little to no value. They managed to withstand all of the obstacles and went on to change the course of history, contributing greatly towards the war efforts. But where are they in the history books? In any books? In any movies? For too long the voices of black women have gone unheard, undervalued or quite simply ignored. This is something we no longer to choose to accept. We are resilient and have been for many many years, history proves this and in recent times we have been leaning towards this truth and our strength. With the success of stories like ‘Hidden Figures’ and more recently ‘Black Panther’ a story like ‘Fort Huachuca’ is needed now more than ever. Their success reflects the voice of the people, a people who are hungry for change, a people ready to see a different narrative, to see themselves represented in all aspects, on screen, on stage in the history books. It is our time!

Ailema and the rest of the cast (Natalia Elizabeth, Nicole Sousa, Ashlee Jones, Benjamin Colbourne, Charles Nkrumah Jr, Resheda Terry, and Tiera Dashae with voiceovers by Kandace Caine & Kenneth Shook) will perform at the OMR Theatre @The Complex in Hollywood on Santa Monica Blvd, here in Los Angeles for the Festival in June.

With four more shows left this is a show you cannot miss come and support the history of Fort Huachuca!

please go to  http://hff18.org/4897 to select your date and get your tickets

 

All Hail Fringe Femmes! Meet K Butterfly Smith

By Constance Strickland

This Fringe season welcomes a thrilling group of women from varied backgrounds and experiences, making this an exciting and by far one of the most diverse Hollywood Fringe Festivals ever! I wanted to take this week to share the voices of these women who will be sharing pieces of themselves this June at a variety of local theatres along Theatre Row.

The power of LA FPI is the ability it has to bring women of all ages and different backgrounds together to share our love for the theatre. It is a pleasure to introduce K Butterfly Smith, a spiritual being who creates art exploring the self and lives understanding we are all interconnected. 

Navigating the Fringe with Art and Healing

We are living in scary times. It often feels like there is no way out with all the shooting, terror and violence happening in our homes, schools, workplace and even our technology and entertainment. These are just symptoms that all this chaos exists inside of us. The only way out is through – through our own pain, our own terror and our own violence. Room No9 at the Chrysalis Inn invites you to experience a healing journey.

Healing is scary. It’s like the future. We don’t know anything about it really, except for what we want the outcome to be. Art is fun. It’s the sugar that helps the medicine we need for healing go down. Using art as a healing tool gives me focus, a sense of accountability to myself, the community and the world. It allows me to heal the wounds in myself share with the world in hopes that it will inspire healing in others. AND it’s fun.

In order to change our world, we are going to have to do something. It’s important to start with self. Creatively addressing our own issues, so that when we get where we want to be, our inner chaos is not waiting for us. It does get easier and easier. Remember “You must go into the darkness to find the light. You are the key. Little ole you.”

Check out my promo video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDREFBg37H0

 

To witness this 30-minute healing journey, please go to hff18.org/4966 to select your date and get your tickets. All Advance Purchases Tickets are PWYC! 

Please allow time for parking. Shows Start On-Time.