By Mukul Khurana
Just to make the point that everything is represented at the 2016 San Diego International Fringe Festival and that nothing is censored, along comes a work described as “Deplorable,” “Irredeemable,” and “Misogynistic bullshit.”
These are not my words but could describe The Chronic Single’s Handbook by Randy Ross quite accurately. On the other hand, this man’s “global search for love goes astray in Greece, South Africa, Cambodia, and Boston” could also be described as intelligent adult humor that is well-acted. No one said that you have to agree with everything that comes your way at the Fringe.
Though Randy Ross wrote and directed, the show was directed by Michael Mack—and the collaboration works. Inspired by true events, we gain insights into ageless male wisdom such as “Marriage is no barometer of mental health” and “The chronic singles of the animal world: Do they worry about dying alone?” In case it wasn’t clear this show has adult situations and adult language. It is worth watching (with caution if you are easily offended).
Kevin Viner bills himself as a mentalist, magician, and comedian. And he is good! Distorted Reality (and Fuzzy Math) begins with mind-reading, continues with hypnosis (with a lot of magic thrown in), and ends with a bowling ball. Obviously, the theme being math, numbers are a major part of the show. Prepare to be amazed. There are so many surprises along the way that the hour show will feel much shorter. I have always appreciated a consummate professional. This is one of many great performances at this year’s festival.
somebodies dance theater was a group that won a 2015 SD Fringe Artist award. They return again with a new show: Silo. In Silo, they use plastic bags as props and there is a pregnant woman dancing (“they” being Gina Bolles Sorensen and Kyle Sorensen–Artistic Directors). The other dancers are Angel Acuna, Sulijah Learmont, Nicole Oga, Sandra Ruiz, and April Tra. Did I mention that the pregnant woman is the female part of the couple, Gina Bolles Sorensen? Probably the point being made is that pregnant women can dance and are just as beautiful in movement as women who are not pregnant (and rightly so). She dances in front of a silver screen with a fluidity of motion that must be seen to be appreciated (and isn’t that the point of compelling contemporary dance)?
Another point probably being made is that a pregnant woman “carries” as do plastic bags. In fact, the overriding symbolism is “the things we carry,” Kyle Sorensen explains after the performance. They are a graceful troupe exploring their own way of doing things—inventing new moves. This is powerful choreography well executed. It is nice to know that they are local talent, though the performances carry into the international sphere. They tell a story with their bodies—but it could be anybody—“somebodies” as their name implies. In a larger context, we are talking about baggage, pain, hopes, and aspirations. This is a team to watch.
Does it stop being spectacular at the 2016 San Diego International Fringe Festival? Just as you thought that it was safe to live indoors, a giant rat makes life next to impossible (that’s the kind of thing A Little Bit Off from Portland, OR builds on in Bella Culpa). Besides the giant rat, there are smaller ones too. And, what this duo does with pots and pans and a physical comedy routine—a sight to behold.
People who would normally smile politely laughed throughout the show. The two names in this show are Amica Hunter and David Cantor. Using clowning, mime, juggling, and acrobatics, these inventive young artists bring a feeling of vaudeville alive on stage. They are off beat but extremely funny. In an Edwardian era manor house with shades of Rocky Horror Picture Show eroticism, stories are told without many words. In fact, they “speak” in the international language of physicality.
As part of the act, Amica Hunter has this flirtatious exchange with a gentleman in the audience. Her facial expressions are carefully selected (and very effective). David Cantor does the same with a servile and fawning attitude. He accepts his fate and does a good job. Speaking of doing a good job, you can tell that A Little Bit Off believes in perfection, everything is as rehearsed as the silver that he keeps on polishing in the act. This is another “not to be missed” show.