Christopher Nolan is daring us to ask the question. Is The Dark Knight Rises the best third film in a series ever? After going through this exercise for a few days now, there
really isn’t much of a list to delineate and rank. Let’s review the
obvious candidates and determine how Nolan’s finale stacks up.
performance based on social activism isn’t in and of itself very
fringy. Lots of artists till that field in their works. But when a
performance ambitiously asks audiences to participate in social
experiments and does so in a strangely uplifting way, well, that’s
Let’s start with what OTR 2081 is not. It’s not a cool walking tour of Over the Rhine as imagined by future generations. What would they say about how we lived? What insightful commentary would they offer about this moment in human history, with the benefit of time and historical perspective?
“My name is Tallulah, and I’m a compulsive liar.” So begins Memoir of a Mythomaniac, a Fringe offering from East Tennessee State University Patchwork Players. The story of Tallulah, whose actual name is Jane, is told as a fractured narrative, combining traditional dramatic scenes of exposition with break-out scenes of movement and dance. And it works, mostly, thanks to the energy of the six, young, able-bodied and game performers in the troupe.
It’s pretty typical for our culture to be afraid of that which we don’t know. We see it every day on TV news and in daily conversations around the water cooler. But what we probably rarely see is the reaction on the other end, how it affects the object of our fear. That’s one of the principle reasons why Headscarf and the Angry Bitch is so welcoming and accessible. And frankly, so needed.
On first blush, there’s nothing terribly Fringe-y about Denali (performed at Know Theatre). It’s a fairly straightforward play from Iowa’s Working Group Theatre about three childhood friends who get back together for the first time since a tragic mountain-climbing accident claimed the life of the one person who tied the others together. How could one of them profit from the harrowing story by way of a best-selling memoir? What are the others hiding? Will the truth ever come out?
It seems simple enough and therefore not unique: two performers (husband and wife duo Abigail and Shaun Bengson), two mics, a handful of instruments and an otherwise bare stage. But until you factor in the two personalities, their talents and their collective life experiences, you don't realize what a long, strange trip you're on.
After seven years, people who still don't totally understand what the Cincy Fringe Festival is all about should make plans to see this perfect example of what's right and fun about Fringe theater. Pound for pound, I'm not sure you can find a more accessible, charming and pee-in-your-pants-funny show this week.
The utterly raw nature of a Fringe production can be its greatest and most exciting asset. And that can be its biggest and sometimes insurmountable challenge. In the case of 'Just Say Know,' it's a little bit of both.