Category Archives: Fringe Festival

#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: Tribe

by Chris Farah

Quick peeks at #HFF21’s “Women on the Fringe” by Fringe Femmes who are behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins

Fringe Femmes

WHO: Laila Abdo

WHAT: Tribe

WHERE: The Broadwater Black Box 6322 Santa Monica Blvd (+ Live-Stream)

WHY: A hybrid improv and ensemble comedy influenced by “Pitch Perfect” and starring a uniquely adept cast who all happen to be Arab-American? Y’alla! If you love long-form improv and lebneh, this is the show for you!

HOW: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/7164

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#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: I Have Too Many Feelings

by Heather Dowling

Quick peeks at #HFF21’s “Women on the Fringe” by Fringe Femmes who are behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins

Fringe Femmes

WHO: Bethany Vee

WHAT: I Have Too Many Feelings

WHERE: The Broadwater Black Box 6322 Santa Monica Blvd (+ Live-Stream)

WHY: In I Have Too Many Feelings, Bethany takes a painfully hilarious look at her very personal journey to achieve balanced mental health – navigating bedwetting, LGBTQ+ matters, ADHD, depression and addiction. But Bethany’s authentic storytelling – aided by her caustic inner critic, Demon-Debby and a host of other characters – allows us to join her journey, cheering for her recovery, and considering our own “too many feelings.” Maybe, they have a purpose for us, after all.

HOW: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/7128

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#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: REDEEMher

by Heather Dowling

Quick peeks at #HFF21’s “Women on the Fringe” by Fringe Femmes who are behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins

Fringe Femmes

WHO: Tatum Langton

WHAT: REDEEMher

WHERE: The Broadwater Black Box 6322 Santa Monica Blvd (+ Live-Stream)

WHY: If you really believe you’ve committed a sin, second only to murder, how do you go on with your life, your marriage, and even more importantly, your faith? In this dramedy debut solo-performance from Tatum Langton, this question is answered with complete authenticity, courage and even humor.  Get ready to be inspired by the possibility of redemption.

HOW:  https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/7156

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#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: Worth It!

by Heather Dowling

Quick peeks at #HFF21’s “Women on the Fringe” by Fringe Femmes who are behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins

Fringe Femmes

WHO: Carla Delaney

WHAT: Worth It!

WHERE: The Broadwater Black Box 6322 Santa Monica Blvd (+ Live-Stream)

WHY: At a time when scarcity mentality in our world became as basic as hoarding toilet paper, award-winning solo performer, Carla Delaney (Voices), decided to share a story about “rebooting” your relationship to abundance. This hysterical music and multimedia packed performance will have you looking at your “credit score” from an entirely new perspective and smiling all the way to the bank.

HOW: http://hff21.co/7193

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#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: Lady LiberTEASE

by Heather Dowling

Quick peeks at #HFF21’s “Women on the Fringe” by Fringe Femmes who are behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins

Fringe Femmes

WHO: Kirsten Laurel Caplan

WHAT: Lady LiberTEASE

WHERE: The Broadwater Black Box 6322 Santa Monica Blvd (+ Live-Stream)

WHY: In this solo performance, protagonist Kirsten is thrilled to have discovered the long forgotten American goddess, Columbia – an inspiring symbol of female empowerment on the heels of the 2016 election. But when Kirsten makes a commitment to anti-racism education, she uncovers truths about her family’s history that connects her to Columbia’s own problematic past. With guidance from many wise mentors, Kirsten and Columbia wrestle with being white and female – of being both oppressed and an oppressor. As a result, the audience is gifted with powerful edu-tainment and, hopefully, a new level of self-awareness.

HOW: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/7159

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#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: I Heart Maroc

by Heather Dowling

Quick peeks at #HFF21’s “Women on the Fringe” by Fringe Femmes who are behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins

Fringe Femmes

WHO: Azo Safo

WHAT: I Heart Maroc

WHERE: The Broadwater Black Box 6322 Santa Monica Blvd (+ Live-Stream)

WHY: In this lively solo show, Azo invites us on a vivid, funny and incredibly empathetic journey to Morocco. We get to witness Azo unraveling her life’s purpose, “changing the world one bitlma at a time,” as a Peace Corps volunteer. She has to learn the language, negotiate the currency, survive a Moroccan wedding – and somehow avoid the donkey poop. Will this young, well-meaning Armenian-American find her purpose and save humanity, or will she honor her mother’s wishes and end up married to an Armenian dentist? It’s an ending you will definitely want to discover yourself!

HOW: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/7091

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#FringeFemmes 2021 are Here! Meet Verenice Zuniga

By Constance Strickland

We know that when there is cultural and racial equality in theatre, it makes room for artists from all walks of life to contribute to the history of theatre. This past year has reinforced what we have been doing at LAFPI – putting women of all kinds first! It is vital that we make space and open doors wider for women from all cultural backgrounds if we are to have a bold, forward thinking American Theatre that reflects America.

ESTRAWBERY FIELDS FOREVER gets me hyped up and excited for the future of theatre. In this solo show by Verenice Zuniga, a 2021 Hollywood Fringe Diversity Scholarship Winner, we will follow the journey of La Graduada, a young Latina grappling with the difficult truths of a post-graduate life as a brown educated woman. Through her we see the American Dream unravel as she moves back home to financially support her family while also figuring out her own path forward. Via poetry, this piece explores immigrant family dynamics, the financial impact of higher education on first-generation students, and the psychological toll of the American Dream, an issue not often addressed directly. I have a gut feeling this will be a richly poignant and moving show that will highlight the voices of tomorrow. What a gift this will be to us.

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

Verenice: I had this idea about five years ago and would always put it off until I felt “ready.” During the pandemic I found myself feeling really stuck creatively and doubting my journey as an artist. This piece allowed me to rediscover my passion for devising theater. After being stuck inside for a year I just wanted to dive into something fun and new.  Like many, in this past year, I realized life is too short to doubt yourself. I’m very glad I took this leap!

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

Verenice: The biggest challenge of this has been finding movement in the show. The show’s language is very poetic and we wanted to find a way to let the language shine but also create a visual language to elevate that poeticism. 

Constance: What are you enjoying most as you create your show? What has been the most surprising discovery?

Verenice: I’m enjoying the discovery of my own writing.  As I act through the show and work with Kathy Arevalo, my director, I’m finding new meaning to lines and characters. I think this has also been a huge growth journey for me as an actor and writer.  There have been many moments where I’m stuck asking myself  “What the heck did I even mean by this? How do I play this?” It really has allowed me to be on both sides of this play and appreciate how the writing evolves as we workshop it on its feet.

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

Verenice: I hope audience members leave questioning their version of reality and the different levels of privileges that influence their present and future. I also hope they feel seen and hopefully in these 30 minutes we won’t feel so alone in our first-generation struggles.

Constance: The work will be given away soon – how does that feel?

Verenice: It’s nerve-racking but relieving at the same time. I’m definitely ready to share it with everyone and set the work free!

For more information on ESTRAWBERY FIELDS FOREVER in #HFF21, visit http://hff21.co/7092

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#FringeFemmes 2021 are Here! Meet Syn Fontes

By Constance Strickland

We know that when there is cultural and racial equality in theatre, it makes room for artists from all walks of life to contribute to the history of theatre. This past year has reinforced what we have been doing at LAFPI – putting women of all kinds first! It is vital that we make space and open doors wider for women from all cultural backgrounds if we are to have a bold, forward thinking American Theatre that reflects America.

To know Synida (Syn) Fontes is to love the wild and free being that is SYN! Her writing is a reflection of her bold and daring nature. If the title of her show DATING DETOX/ROMANCE REHAB/PUSSY POWER & POWER OUTAGES doesn’t give you insight into magical Woman there is no doubt her show will. I look forward to an originally delicious show experience, for we get to see a Woman of Color’s hysterically/awkwardly/painfully personal narrative as a devout spinster/accidental cougar/badass (mis)adventuress, irreverently tackling women’s issues such as reproductive health (from first gyno exam to hysterectomy), and New World Dating! Let’s Go. I’m Ready!

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

Syn: Connection – They found others/stories they could relate to when they thought they were “strange”.

Validation/support – Their unconventional lifestyle/life choices have been misunderstood/harshly criticized, but in this piece, they are accepted and even celebrated.

Empowerment – Sisters take control and do their thing their way without asking permission and without apology.

Also, just a good, fun time! If people laugh throughout my show, I’ll be VERY happy.

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

Syn: Making the protagonist more accessible/likable without losing her edge and rawness and crazy. The humor is ballsy and irreverent and could cause offense or cause laughter. It’s not for the hyper-sensitive. I tried my best to be respectful and get input from people in the various groups that are referenced. In the end, comedy is always a risk and I have to brace myself and jump into the fray. (Just don’t give anyone my address, please! LOL)

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

Syn: The fabulous support and encouragement from groups like this, a sacred sister circle.

Constance: What has been the most surprising discovery?

Syn: Every time I’ve done a table reading (or otherwise shared my script), people have told me they can relate to these stories! I thought my stories were off-beat, a little crazy, a little weird, and that people would get a laugh, but they wouldn’t identify with me. Instead, everybody has said they share my journey! The details may be different, even the circumstances, but the feelings and human experiences are the same.

Constance: The work will be given away soon – how does that feel?

Syn: Like I’m planning and creating a big surprise gift for someone I adore and want so badly to be adored by, but am not sure how they feel about me. Maybe they won’t want my gift, after I put my everything into it. Maybe they’ll fall in love with me! 

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

Syn: 2017, fall. Fringe is open to ALL/non-juried; it’s an experimental playground/training camp open to new ideas, mistakes, and learning as you go. The pandemic, with all its social distancing, has normalized virtual shows. So, now I can afford it! (No venue rental plus full theater crew, insurance, playbills, box office, etc.)

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

Syn: My theme for the Fringe: SOS – Support Our Sisters. My theme for my show: BYOB/LYOJ – Bring your own booze; leave yo’ judgment. (Booze is good for that. )

For more information on DATING DETOX/ROMANCE REHAB/PUSSY POWER & POWER OUTAGES in #HFF21, visit http://hff21.co/4996

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#FringeFemmes 2021 are Here! Meet Tanya Thomas

By Constance Strickland

We know that when there is cultural and racial equality in theatre, it makes room for artists from all walks of life to contribute to the history of theatre. This past year has reinforced what we have been doing at LAFPI – putting women of all kinds first! It is vital that we make space and open doors wider for women from all cultural backgrounds if we are to have a bold, forward thinking American Theatre that reflects America.

Naturally Tan is told through the bold perspective of a vivacious drag queen named Tanvi; through her we follow writer/performer Tanya Thomas’ desperation to fit in as a minority in Singapore and her search for acceptance in America. Will Tanya continue to hide behind her insecurities forever or will she have the ability to embody her full self… and find her self-worth as a woman & artist?

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

Tanya: I hope audience members not only find themselves thrilled by the entertaining nature of the show, but recognize the dichotomous reality that our differences can be both a source of pain and strength. To grow simply means amplifying what you stand for and evolving into who you were meant to be!

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

Tanya: I spent the longest time ashamed of my story and never thought it was worthy to be told. I initially wrote the show to showcase my writing and acting abilities, hoping to find theatrical and voiceover representation that believed in my work. Once I gained the courage to conduct a reading, I realized this show is bigger than me. I am telling my story to give voice to anyone who has hidden themselves as a kindness to the world and inspire those who might not see themselves anywhere else.

Constance: What are you enjoying most as you create your show? What has been the most surprising discovery?

Tanya: I’m enjoying the collaborative process of creating a solo show. While it sounds singular in nature, the show is truly an amalgamation of kindred souls working their magic! I’m forever thankful to my director Jessica Lynn Johnson and her Soaring Solo community and Natalie Alcala of Fashion Mamas for connecting me to my creative team (illustrations by Dirty Eraser, graphic design by Serina Morris, copywriting by Eileen Rosete and photography by Cameron Jordan).

The most surprising discovery has been hearing from my livestream audience at a post-show Zoom talkback that they recognized some part of their lives reflected in my work on stage. What I thought was so specific to my experience proved to be universal in some form.

Constance: The work will be given away soon – how does that feel?

Tanya: Exhilarating and nerve-racking at the same time! This will be the first time I perform Naturally Tan in front of a live, in-person audience. My first performance was live-streamed without an audience at Solofest. I’ve waited so long for this moment so I am determined to ground myself in knowing the best things in life are on the other side of fear! I’m thrilled to share my truth and experience the collaborative magic of live theatre. It’ll be great to have that energy released worldwide as the show will be livestreamed too!

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

Tanya: Naturally Tan was many years in the making. An acting coach had encouraged me to write about my cross cultural experiences 10 years ago. I wrote a page but couldn’t bear to write more. A series of healing experiences later, I’m boldly declaring my worth through my 35 characters in the show. I am proud that the show adds a distinct voice to the full range and diversity of Asian American stories. I believe the world is ready to listen deeply and move conversations forward around topics of representation, beauty standards and identity so we can heal our generational scars.

Constance: Anything else? Please share with us!

Tanya: It was important for me to tell a story of my growth as a woman of color, mother, and artist through grace and movement. My drag queen narrator, Tanvi, embodies her highest form throughout the show while restoring that balance between femininity and masculinity. I also depict feminine love in all its graceful forms through Mohiniyattam, a traditional Indian dance style from Kerala, India. It took a serendipitous encounter and a few months of dance training through zoom with world renowned Indian classical dancer, Vijayalakshmi, to get ready for a powerful scene in my show.

 For more information on NATURALLY TAN in #HFF21, visit http://hff21.co/5740

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#FringeFemmes 2021 are Here! Meet Diana Elizabeth Jordan

By Constance Strickland

We know that when there is cultural and racial equality in theatre, it makes room for artists from all walks of life to contribute to the history of theatre. This past year has reinforced what we have been doing at LAFPI – putting women of all kinds first! It is vital that we make space and open doors wider for women from all cultural backgrounds if we are to have a bold, forward thinking American Theatre that reflects America.

Diana Elizabeth Jordan is one of the busiest actresses working in L.A theatre, and one of the most beloved and talented comediennes doing work that’s outside the box. Her new show, Happily Ever Afteris a prime example of her righteous spirit as she takes us on a glorious, hilarious and heartbreaking emotional rollercoaster to find her “prince charming.” Diana is like a real life princess – chosen by the people, not anointed or given the title through marriage – and hers is a solo show I don’t want to miss! 

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

Diana: I have been working on Happily Ever After for several years. It started as a short storytelling project when I took a Story Coaching Workshop with Tanya Taylor Rubenstein. It has grown from a ten-minute story into what it is now.  When it comes to producing at the Fringe, my “Why” is” Why Not?” It just felt like the right time. If I have learned anything in the past year and a half, it is that life is so unpredictable.  I was honored with a Diversity Scholarship and the Fringe Staff could not be more welcoming and supportive. I have also surrounded myself with an amazing support system and team including Women of Color Unite founded by Cheryl L. Bedford, my director Paul Kampf, my sound designer Alexander Tovar, my costume designer (aka my mom) and many others. This really is taking a village and I could never do this without them.

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

Diana: I am really enjoying everything, even the most challenging things like finding time to sleep. (LOL) Seriously, though, I think I have been enjoying some of the non-acting things like picking out my props,  and some of the production side of things like creating visual images. It has been fun. For example, I talk about two childhood friends in my show (whose names I changed) and chose not to use their actual pictures, yet I found visual images that kind of remind me of them.

Constance: What has been the most surprising discovery?

Diana: Honestly the most surprising discovery has been learning about the business decisions I have had to make in terms of ticket sales, along with the best use of my limited funds. It really is wearing two hats with completely different goals.  I have also learned a lot about delegation of responsibilities.  I have often served as a Disability Accessibility & Inclusion Coordinator on projects but for my show I’ve handed those responsibilities over to members of my team.

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

Diana: My biggest challenge with anything I do continues to be to trust myself.  Like a lot of people, I can be my worst critic. My critic, “Mrs. H.”  (named after a mean music teacher I had as a kid), can be incredibly loud sometimes. I also think it is a challenge to tell my truth in a way that is entertaining. I have been to storytelling events where people just share stories and there is value in that.  But sharing diverse stories is a bridge builder and connector. I am intentionally creating a piece of entertainment. So, the challenge then becomes how do I both share my heart and my truth in a way that is entertaining.   

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

Diana: I am a Black woman who has a disability (cerebral palsy which mildly affects my speech and gait); I am proud of the intersection of my identities. That is not what I focus on, though.  My show is about my journey of finding true love, without the assistance of a fairy godmother or talking mirror like a lot of the princesses had in the fairytales I used to read as a girl.  So I hope audiences members see themselves in the stories I share.

Constance: The work will be given away soon – how does that feel?

Diana: I have felt every emotion from sheer terror to giddy girl excitement and that has been within this past hour. I was watching a video of my 14-year-old nephew the other day, marveling at how fast these 14 years have flown by and realizing he is going to be a man before I know it. I will just blink, and he’ll be a man. This show feels the same way. The preview and performances still seem so far away yet I know it will be here before I know it – like this week (my first preview). It is a lot to take in so I am just saying my prayers, trusting my faith and taking it moment to moment right now and enjoying the ride.

Constance: Anything Extra? Please Share!

Diana: One of my favorite mantras is “Don’t Step Outside Your Comfort Zone Expand It.” It is one of the mantras I live by. It may not always be easy, but the journey of continuing to expand my comfort zone is worth it.

Diana Elizabeth Jordan (www.dianaelizabethjordan.com) is an actor, solo artist, theater & filmmaker, artist educator and disability influencer. For more information on “Happily After (One Woman’s Journey To Find A True Love)” in #HFF21, visit http://hff21.co/6896 

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