Category Archives: Fringe Festival

#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: Shakespeare in Vegas

by Eloise Coopersmith

Quick peeks at #HFF24’s “Women on the Fringe” by Fringe Femmes who are behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins

Fringe Femmes

WHO:  Suzanne Bradbeer

WHAT: Shakespeare in Vegas produced by Noholand Productions

WHERE: Castex Daylight Loft, 6442 Santa Monica Bl Suite 203

WHY: A farcical romp/adventure, with all the elements of a Shakespearean play and the glitz of Vegas (baby).  Playwright Suzanne Bradbeer crafts an evening of laughter and surprises, merging Shakespearean themes with Vegas extravagance for an unusual theater experience.

HOW: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/6826

Click Here to Find More “Women on the Fringe!”

#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life, Sex, and Everything in Between

by Eloise Coopersmith

Quick peeks at #HFF24’s “Women on the Fringe” by Fringe Femmes who are behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins

Fringe Femmes

WHO:  Ariella Salinas Fiore

WHAT: The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life, Sex, and Everything in Between

WHERE: The Hobgoblin Playhouse, 6440 Santa Monica Bl

WHY: Ariella Salinas Fiore shines in her show with a mix of fun, frisky, and fabulous energy. Her storytelling is incredibly sincere and real, drawing audiences in to care deeply about both her and the topics she discusses. She unabashedly tackles personal challenges – particularly society’s judgments on physical appearance – offering not just entertainment but also a poignant educational experience. Her narrative sheds light on the universal struggle to stay authentic in a world that often dictates how one should be rather than accepting individuals as they are.

HOW: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/10927

Click Here to Find More “Women on the Fringe!”

#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: Sunita: Back To Me

by Constance Strickland

Quick peeks at #HFF24’s “Women on the Fringe” by Fringe Femmes who are behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins

Fringe Femmes

WHO: Sunita Param

WHAT: Sunita: Back To Me

WHERE:  Asylum @ Stephanie Fuery Studio Theatre (Mainstage), 5636 Melrose Av

WHY: As soon as Sunita walked onstage, I was taken in by her beauty and elegance, yet it was hearing her voice even before seeing her that immediately connected me to the woman and the story she would so generously share with us. I felt as though I was at Café Carlyle in New York City as I was seated on the stage. Sunita and her pianist, Derek Purdy, treat us to an evening of classic cabaret, serenading us with a collection of songs from musicals, including one of my favorites, “Popular” from Wicked. Yet Sunita is not just singing musical soundtracks; she has delicately chosen songs that connect us to her own story of losses, gains and hard lessons learned. She gives us a rare theatrical opportunity where we, as an audience, can witness a retrospective of this fearless artist’s life.

Luckily, we have the privilege of meeting a woman who has rediscovered herself. A woman who, despite facing disappointment and heartbreak, persevered. Sunita’s tale of resilience serves as a powerful reminder of why music is an integral part of the human spirit. Her magnificent voice and the way she narrates her story will keep you enthralled throughout her performance.

HOW: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/10819

#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: My Mother Doesn’t Know I’m Kinky

by Eloise Coopersmith

Quick peeks at #HFF24’s “Women on the Fringe” by Fringe Femmes who are behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins

Fringe Femmes

WHO:  Jean Franzblau

WHAT: My Mother Doesn’t Know I’m Kinky

WHERE: The Broadwater Second Stage,  6320 Santa Monica Bl

WHY: Well-structured storytelling with a powerful narrative exploring what some might consider a taboo topic. Educational and deeply personal, Franzblau takes her audience on her journey of self-discovery into her authentic sexual identity. Despite ratings and descriptors suggesting an adult audience, the storytelling remains respectful and accessible to all. Those attending with a sense of wonder rather than judgment will certainly enjoy this work.

HOW: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/10366

Click Here to Find More “Women on the Fringe!”

#FringeFemmes 2024: Meet Bethany Hill

By Constance Strickland

June is here and “Women on the Fringe” are again onstage!

There is nothing quite like the buzz that’s created during the Hollywood Fringe. It is a time filled with risk-taking, courage, hope and independent artists creating new work by any means necessary. Each year, I ask women writers a new series of questions influenced by the Proust Questionnaire and Bernard Pivot’s French series, “Bouillon de Culture.” The goal is to understand the artist’s work and their full nature while allowing them a space to reveal their authentic self. It is a great gift and a true honor to introduce women who will be presenting work in myriad genres, exploring a wide range of topics that allow us to examine who we are as individuals and as a society.

Introducing Bethany Hill and her show, “Femmina Super.”

Bethany Hill

Constance: What do you hope audience members take away after experiencing your show?

Bethany: I think, historically, humans have been quick to judge the decisions made by those that break societal norms, forgetting that a large proportion of those decisions are made as an act of desperation, survival and self-preservation. I wrote this play because I wanted to unpack my own decision-making and to understand why my ancestors would marry difficult men, leave their homes, abandon a child or break rules in order to make art. Through this unpacking, I hoped that I could provide an empathic lens for audiences toward these characters so that they might reflect on the people in their lives and the questionable decisions they have made.

And then there’s the music… Inspired by Barbara Strozzi, a female composer from 17th century Italy, I have used a variety of instruments like the Appalachian dulcimer, shruthi box, glockenspiel, Irish drum, live looping and electronic soundscapes to showcase her music and my own. It’s an introduction to music from 400 years ago combined with modern opera performed in a way that, hopefully, feels accessible and fresh to an audience that may not regularly attend opera or enjoy classical music.

Constance: What’s been your biggest challenge in terms of your development/creation process?

Bethany: While I love writing, this was my first script, and so I had next-to-no experience in crafting a balanced piece of theatre where the story moved forward. I had written moments of poetry and character monologues, but I needed to learn how to write “the glue” that would make it coherent.  I had so much material – I was passionate about the themes I was exploring – but I spent a lot of time cutting it down to a Fringe-friendly 80 minutes while still retaining the essence of the piece I had originally intended to make.

Constance: What are you enjoying most as you create your show?

Bethany: I have written the words and the music, and then I get to jump on stage and sing and play multiple instruments and be multiple characters! It’s the multi-faceted work that I have dreamed of doing. The discovery of my characters has been such a rewarding process. My women (the different roles) have morphed and changed with me throughout the rehearsal period. For me, that’s been the biggest joy – finding their voices.

Constance: What has been the most surprising discovery?

Bethany: To go back to the challenges of this show – the cutting of material, but in a helpful way. I was really stubborn at first about what I was willing to let go of. It was a surprising discovery to realize I didn’t need so much of the material to tell the same stories.

Constance: The work will be given away soon. How does that feel?

Bethany: Terrifying and exhilarating. This has had a gestational period of 15 months! It’s time to birth it and hand it over to audiences.

Constance: How long have you been sitting with this work?

Bethany: For almost two years. It has gone through many formations. It actually began as a story utilising the music of Joni Mitchell and Barbara Strozzi! And then I realised that I wanted to write the music and tell my ancestral stories combined with the story of Barbara Strozzi. That was when I pitched the idea to my (now) director, almost a year and a half ago.

Constance: Why Fringe? Why this year?

Bethany: I’ve lived in the US for three years now, relocating from Australia during the pandemic. I wanted to change career paths from full-time opera singer to theatre-maker. I’m an unknown quantity in a new country! I was busting to make this show. I didn’t want to sit on it any longer. The Fringe seemed like a safe platform to launch this show on. The resources needed were easier to access under the umbrella of the Fringe than if I had tried a stand-alone season.

Constance: If there is anything else that needs to be said, please say it!

Bethany: I would encourage audiences to not be deterred by the title, Femmina Super: a Modern Opera. So far, the feedback has been “I didn’t know what to expect, but that wasn’t it!” in the best way possible. If you are an opera lover, this will still satisfy you. If you are not an opera lover, then this is so much more than what your perceptions of opera may be. This is theatre, opera, poetry, folk music, electronic soundtracks and human stories. But, most importantly, it’s the hidden stories of women – relatable, universal, and beautiful.

For info and tickets visit https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/10601

#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: Who in the World is Valerie Lacy?

by Constance Strickland

Quick peeks at #HFF24’s “Women on the Fringe” by Fringe Femmes who are behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins

Fringe Femmes

WHO: Valerie Lacy

WHAT: Who in the World is Valerie Lacy?

WHERE: Hudson Theatres (Hudson Guild) 6539 Santa Monica Bl

WHY: Valerie takes us on an emotional journey that will have you gasping in shock and shake you to your core. We root for and follow this curious, beautiful young girl as she develops a crush, falls in love, gets pregnant and marries her childhood sweetheart. One minute, we’re laughing out loud with her and listening to her beautiful voice, which makes you feel she is catching a distant memory or reconstructing her future. It feels good to celebrate this young couple in love who are raising a child together. It’s not until Valerie’s voice becomes distorted and her body morphs that we realize the relationship has morphed into an abusive and dire situation. Yet Valerie’s will, unbreakable spirit and determination are contagious throughout her performance. We want her to get everything she imagines and deserves. Go see this show. Go support Black women telling stories. Go support a woman who is reclaiming her voice and refuses to let anyone control her story. Go support theatre that is creating a space where we can come together as a community and heal pieces of ourselves.

HOW: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/10707

Click Here to Find More “Women on the Fringe!”

#FringeFemmes 2024: Meet Mayuri Bhandari

By Constance Strickland

June is here and “Women on the Fringe” are again onstage!

There is nothing quite like the buzz that’s created during the Hollywood Fringe. It is a time filled with risk-taking, courage, hope and independent artists creating new work by any means necessary. Each year, I ask women writers a new series of questions influenced by the Proust Questionnaire and Bernard Pivot’s French series, “Bouillon de Culture.” The goal is to understand the artist’s work and their full nature while allowing them a space to reveal their authentic self. It is a great gift and a true honor to introduce women who will be presenting work in myriad genres, exploring a wide range of topics that allow us to examine who we are as individuals and as a society.

Introducing Mayuri Bhandari and her show, THE ANTI “YOGI”:

Mayuri Bhandari

Constance: What do you hope audience members take away after experiencing your show?

Mayuri: It’s a sensory immersive experience; it is to be felt, not just intellectually understood. At its core, THE ANTI “YOGI” is a call to action, not only to reflect a mirror but to call out our own ignorance through humor and depth. I hope audiences are amused, moved, touched, and awakened.

Constance: What’s been your biggest challenge in terms of your development/creation process?

Mayuri: The writing. Without a doubt. Showing not telling, and getting past perfectionist syndrome to get the writing on its feet… because it changes a number of times anyway! Also, being the director/producer/marketer/etc. in every aspect; the performer and producer at the same time. I learned a lot, but it was definitely a challenge. I had a wonderful team I brought together – but I still have to execute in all areas!

Constance: What are you enjoying most as you create your show?

Mayuri: The opportunity to combine all my art forms to be a storyteller. I love rhythm; so to be able to express through visual poetry, live percussion, dance, acting and sound in one space with a cinematic feel of the stage has been amazing. I’m a mover, so it’s so wonderful to be able to use my body through all the characters, for my emotions and for the sentiment of the piece.

Constance: What has been the most surprising discovery?

Mayuri: At how much I can accomplish even when I think I’ve hit my limit or doubt myself. I have to give credit to my team: directors D’Lo & Shyamala Moorty, producer Jessica Johnson, my percussionist Neel Agrawal, my team at the Zephyr including Nick Foran, and my friends who have been helping my non-stop. Honestly, it’s been reaffirming to see myself bring all the pieces I envisioned together and trust my voice and my gut more – believe in myself more.

Constance: The work will be given away soon. How does that feel?

Mayuri: This piece and experiences have been with me for so many years – so to see it come out in a full body of work is something. Hopefully, I’m able to take it further and go deeper with the work. I also feel proud to see a big project like this through. It’s been a long time coming and gives way for my next piece to come out that has been brewing just as much.

This show is my Part 1 (focused on Spirituality) and my Part 2 is focused on Sensuality.

Constance: How long have you been sitting with this work?

Mayuri: Honestly, since I was in college or probably earlier, maybe even lifelong. I’ve had so many experiences that I didn’t realize were micro-aggressions or issues that needed to be addressed until later in my life. Initially, I thought “To each their own” and learned that what I was feeling was rooted in a much deeper issue. So though I didn’t recognize it then; it’s probably been since I was very little and accumulating over the years.

I’ve been wanting to do a one-person show for nearly 5 years now, and when the strike occurred last year I decided to work on the piece. The script started around the end of last year. I’ve been sitting with it for the past 7-8 months or so.

Constance: Why Fringe? Why this year?

Mayuri: I learned about Fringe last year after watching several shows and decided I wanted to be a part of it eventually. And when the strike happened, I knew this was the time.

Constance: Anything else that must be said – please add!

Mayuri: Thank you for taking a look at my show, for your time, and for the opportunity! This piece is a call to action and is about a practice much bigger than I – yet through my lens at the same time. I hope it resonates with many.

https://linktr.ee/mayuribhandari

For info and tickets visit https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/10384

#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: Body Count

by Constance Strickland

Quick peeks at #HFF24’s “Women on the Fringe” by Fringe Femmes who are behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins

Fringe Femmes

WHO: Joy Regullano

WHAT: Body Count

WHERE: The Broadwater (Studio) 1078 Lillian Way

WHY: It was 11pm and I was not sure what to expect as I walked into the theatre and saw a condom under my seat. As I sat down I knew this was going to be a wild ride and ooowee that it was. Joy is HILARIOUS! The way she takes up space despite her size and can hold a room in the palm of her hand with a pause in her voice… or the way she grins when even she knows what’s she’s said is over the top but true. Yes. She is hilarious. Yet that freedom, that deep ability to rouse laughter, is not an accident. Joy makes us laugh because she can pinpoint her pain, dissect it, sit with it and then see in between the moments. We’ve all thought we could fuck the pain away and Body Count reminds us we’re only running from ourselves. So let’s talk about it – Joy offers us this gift in a communal space and together we come to understand that loving someone unconditionally is healing and the best of times are  right around the corner.

HOW: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/10932

Click Here to Find More “Women on the Fringe!”

#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: Gaslighting

by Heather Dowling

Quick peeks at #HFF24’s “Women on the Fringe” by Fringe Femmes who are behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins

Fringe Femmes

WHO: Fielding Edlow

WHAT: Gaslighting is My Love Language

WHERE: Hudson Theatres 6539 Santa Monica Bl

WHY: Fielding Edlow is a stand-up comedian, writer, and creator/star of award-winning digital series Bitter Homes and Gardens. The native New Yorker has performed stand-up at Edinburgh, Leicester, Boston Comedy Festival and now she brings her deeply personal and darkly comedic one-person show to the Hollywood Fringe. Gaslighting Is My Love Language is her scorchingly honest examination of her 13-yr marriage to a character actor husband that was held together by gaslighting and a longing to actually connect. She also examines the dysfunctional relationship between her parents and her own complicated relationship with her tween daughter. Meant for mature audiences.

HOW: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/10388

Click Here to Find More “Women on the Fringe!”

#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: Daddy Issues

by Heather Dowling

Quick peeks at #HFF24’s “Women on the Fringe” by Fringe Femmes who are behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins

Fringe Femmes

WHO: Victoria Kelleher 

WHAT: Daddy Issues

WHERE: Zephyr Theatre, 7456 Melrose Avenue

WHY: In this hilarious and touching autobiographical comedy, Vikki reveals that she and her sister were, in fact, the first latch-key kids of Gen X. This led to a life of parentified, defiant adventure for Vikki as she raised herself in Minnesota. She went on to build an accomplished career as an actor in film and television in Los Angeles, but then in 2019, a 23 and Me test turned her past upside down, and her future right side up. “How many dads does it take to raise an unapologetically self-reliant woman?” It’s a question wonderfully answered in this surprisingly emotional comedy.

HOW: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/10691

Click Here to Find More “Women on the Fringe!”