What’s on the Fringe: A Whole Lot of San Francisco Theatre by Kevin M. Thomas

fringelogosm72dpiThe San Francisco Fringe Festival arrived with its usual eclectic array of interesting works of theatre – from experimental to solo performances – well, in essence, shows on the fringe. It plays through September 19 at mostly Exit Theatres near Union Square.

Representing the GLBT audience, the Fringe has a lot to offer.

Baggage: A Non-Musical Romp Through One Catholic Gay Man’s Dating History, by Shaun McCarthy, made its World Premiere at the 2009 Toronto Fringe Festival to the delight of audiences and critics. “Baggage” was one of Toronto’s “Pick of the Fringe”. This show is 100% true. It has humor, honesty and candidness regarding Shaun’s dating experiences.

The show runs 55 minutes and plays Sept. 16 18, 19.  Tickets $10.00 ($12.99 online).

Boys Together Clinging: The Gay Poetry of Walt Whitman, by Ryan Hayes, takes to the streets of the Castro as Walt Whitman’s poetry is yanked from the shelf and presented in a fiery performance that manifests its raw, vulnerable and boundless heart. Hayes reveals the importance of one of America’s great poetic visionaries and instigators of gay liberation.

Ryan Hayes in "Boys Together Clinging: The Gay Poetry of Walt Whitman" - photo by  Joshua Smith

Ryan Hayes in "Boys Together Clinging: The Gay Poetry of Walt Whitman" - photo by Joshua Smith

The 25 minute show is free and plays Sept. 18, 19.

Eat Our Shorts: A Peek Behind San Francisco Neighborhoods spends an evening viewing the lives of others; what do a rich older couple in Pacific Heights talk about? What happens when people are stuck in an elevator? Do men really use lame pick up lines? You will find out the answer to these and many more of your burning questions when you spend the evening, peeking into the lives of others.

This show runs 55 minutes and plays Sept. 18.  Tickets are $10 ($12.99 online.)

Eat Our Shorts: A Peek Behind San Francisco Neighborhoods

Eat Our Shorts: A Peek Behind San Francisco Neighborhoods

He/She and Me, A Love Story, by Sharon Mathis, asks what do you do when the one you love becomes someone else? When Pat’s long time soul mate Sam becomes Sheila, Pat tries tap dancing, Buddhism, shopping, and running in her quest for the essence of love.

The show runs 45 minutes and plays Sept. 17, 18.  Tickets are $10 ($12.99 online.)

Homeless, by Rotimi Agbabiaka, is a sometimes funny, always poignant trek from Bulgaria to Nigeria to the United States of America. On his journey to find home our protagonist encounters past loves, present obligations and future fantasies. In this piece, Rotimi uses music, dance, storytelling, and shapeshifting to examine the meaning of identity in our global village.

This 45 minute solo show plays Sept. 16, 18.  Price is $8 ($9.99 online.)

Little Tainted Blood, by Julia Steele Allen, takes a journey of self-discovery and reclamation. From Transylvania to Texas, over four generations and sixty years, this is the true story of how shame snakes through a family’s bloodstream until it gets called into the ring and challenged to a fair fight.  Using live music, song, video, memoir and more, award-winning New York playwright, Julia Steele Allen, debuts her most recent and compelling work.

This 60 minute performance shows Sept. 18.  Ticket prices are $10 ($12.99 online.)

Queer in the U.S.A., by Manuel Simons, tells the story of Johnny, a gay teenager, hungers to follow in the footsteps of his hero-Bruce Springsteen. The only problem is that his soprano voice sounds more like Barbra Streisand than The Boss. He journeys to NYC where lovers, musicians and gypsies challenge him to live out loud.

The 60 minute show plays Sept. 16, 18, 19.  Seats are $10 ($12.99 online.)

Angina Monologues, by Annie Larson and Karen Ripley, prods and pokes fun the Hell-thcare system, allowing audiences the chance to see the winners for Best Musical Comedy in the 2005 SF Fringe, in this heart stopping, chest clutching scan of the uninsured, the underinsured, and the never to be assured.

The 45 minute show plays Sept.18.  Tickets are $10 ($12.99 online.)

Zinnia Rosenblatt, by Joe Besecker, is a witty, existential dark comedy that questions the existence of the individual soul…or if the soul can only reveal itself outside of oneself. Full of mystery and shocking surprises, nothing is as it seems. Previous winner of three Best of the Fringe awards, this is Joe Besecker’s sixth play at the Fringe

The 70 minute production plays Sept. 19.  Tickets are $10 ($12.99 online.)

There’s other shows named aimed at the gay audience (per se) but certainly are worth a look.

Arousal, by George Pfirrmann, tells the story of Clifford, who has Asperger’s and has never been with a woman, all alone for the first time in his life. Driven to desperate measures he responds to an ad online for a “special friend”. Albena, a immigrant from the Ukraine who runs a one woman prostitution business out of her studio apt. and who is running from her own troubles, is the one who placed the ad.

Seems to have a lot compacted into the show’s 40 minutes. it plays Sept. 19. Tickets are $10 ($12.99 online.)

Joe’s Cafe, by Rupert Wates and friends, is a musical revue that takes you to an all-night cafe in which  true stories are set to music. Must be good stuff as the music is available on CD or download. You can get the music at www.bitemusiclimited.com.

The 60 minute show plays Sept. 17, 18 and 19. Tickets are $10 ($12.99 online.)

"Joe's Cafe"

"Joe's Cafe" - photo by: Marco Prozzo

Phone Whore, by Cameryn Moore, takes place at night in the apartment of Larissa, a phone sex operator in her mid-thirties who takes the audience through the motions of four phone sex calls that start out tame but get more intense with each call.

The 55 minute show plays Sept. 16.  Tickets are $10 ($12.99 online.

"Phone Whore"

"Phone Whore" photo by: Caleb Cole

To learn more about these and other shows and to get tickets and theatre information, go to www.sffringe.org.