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. Today I am ecstatic to present the resilient, vibrant and hysterical returning fringe femme Rasika Mathur!
Fringe Alum Rasika Mathur in Psychodelicate’s Magical Mystery Comedy Show
This was the one month death anniversary of Larry Harvey, the founder of the Burning Man Festival. And I wasn’t sad because I knew that he got to live a full life and give it all away and that made me feel so good, that his body could be free of pain. He basically had a terrible breakup as a young man and then decided at his breaking point to build a wooden effigy of a man and burn it in a bonfire, a few close friends as witness. He asked they bring something to also toss into the fire. The next year they did it at the beach, and 88 people showed up! It got some attention and every year it grew until they realized it was growing too big for the city of San Francisco. So every year thereafter, an entirely new city and culture are born once a year for 10 days out in Black Rock Desert, Nevada.
And what I learned from this playful, magical, synchronistic, art-nature- spirituality-inspired, “hunger games” dress code-having, “leave no trace” and let it all burn in the fire philosophy-spreading movement, was to bring that sense of play out there out into this world and share it every day. Not just perpetuate stories about drugs and being naked. Though on the right drugs out there you can indeed learn to embrace yourself as a naked being. Primal, warty and all! Over there, two people on bikes crash into each other, dust themselves off and hug. And I’m sure there are fewer and fewer people who can ignore, optimally function and/or abide by what is happening more and more at this very dark moment in our country’s political climate. It’s clear we could all use some Appreciation for Life, Childlike Wonder and Inner Peace.
Creatress, Producer, Performer and Fellow Burner Alayha Aquarian, in Psychodelicate’s Magical Mystery Comedy Show is “here now to spread the good news of the Multiverse, opening hearts and expanding minds through interdimensional travel demonstration and practicum.” We are all fools bringing the feeling of Utopian inclusivity complete with sound bath, metaphysics, and a clown band to a small black box theater on Santa Monica Blvd.
For myself, I will be having an existential crisis, but as my longtime performed spinster (but don’t tell her that) character Nilam Auntie. It leads to a nervous breakdown. And in classic Rasika fashion, I turn to you, my audience, to participate in evoking her healing. Last year, I was new to Hollywood Fringe, and as a scholarship winner for my OWS Hey Hollywood, My Hustle Has ADHD, I felt like “Wow, I’m worthy of my misfit story also belong on stage! I wanted to cast my audience to go on my horrible and hilarious self-revealing journey with me. People would play my dad and imagine themselves as dads, it was insane! And Alayha was there on my closing night, cast as “The Understudy” and she lit up!
I love Fringe’s ability to do that. To keep lighting the candle for each other, and making you see yourself in these other amazing women, doing things that we maybe hadn’t dreamed possible before since all my idols growing up were men. Women who lit the Fringe candle for me: Deana Barone (2016’s Metafam, also Directed and Developed ADHD), Lauren Flans (her shows ALWAYS sell out before May 1-also interactive theater) Chris Farah, Miss FANCY! Herself. Chris was my mentor – and this year, I now mentor scholarship winner, Camille Jenkins, Producer, Director and Playwright of “The Goddesses Guide: Adura for the Women of African Diaspora.” So many stories that need to be told. In June there’s no place I’d rather be than Los Angeles. Because it’s summer, the theater kids have come out to play, and that sets the stage for all kinds of ✨magic✨
Written, Performed & Co-Directed by Alayha Aquarian “Psychodelicate”
Co-Directed/Co-Created by Jessica Lynn Johnson
Cast Hymnal, Joe Borfo, Princess Giggles, & Brother Silence, Matthew Godfrey, Grayson Morris, Alan Rich, Michael Soldati, Steve Chang, Rasika Mathur, Josh Berkowitz, Corina, Niaz Navidi, Em Hoggett, Richard Michael Johnson, Jennifer Jonassen, James Kyson, Helene Udy, Jacqi Bowe, Kina Sinewave, Sierra Sullivan, Paul Reimers, Maxwell Rich, Michael Rayner!
“PSYCHODELICATE’S MAGICAL MYSTERY COMEDY SHOW” opens May 31st @ 7 pm at Studio C. Tickets and more information: http://hff18.org/4958