Hollywood Fringe - Week 1

Enci Box

Editor in Chief

It's nice to be back at the Fringe! I love seeing old friends and making new ones. I love visiting theaters where I either produced a play, performed in shows, or where I saw memorable productions with my husband or with my two boys.

I would love to share with you a few shows that are running at this year's Fringe Festival and that I thoroughly enjoyed. I hope you will see them and leave a review of them on our website, so that those shows can qualify for a LemonMeter rating and so they can get a LemonMeter certificate.

But before I tell you which show I liked, I'd like you to tell you about two venues that I think you should consider visiting:

The Los Angeles LGBT Center is a great place to spend your afternoon and/or evening and see a few shows in a row. Before I headed out for the day, I packed myself some lunch and on the way to my first show at the LGBT Center, I was trying to figure out where I would sit down and eat. There are not many options in Hollywood. You either get a bus bench or you can go into a restaurant and spend $10 minimum on food or you have to go out of your way to find a park with tables. Well, the LGBT Center has tables and chairs, and the tables have umbrellas to shield you from the sun. They also sell concessions, and they have clean bathrooms and even a drinking fountain to fill up your bottle. And an art gallery to see in between shows. Oh and they also have parking AND if you ride your bike, just bring it inside and park it in the courtyard. And everyone is very friendly. I highly recommend this venue - not just to visit, but also if you need a space to rent for a production.

Studio/Stage is another place that I spent an entire day.  I love this space because it brings back memories of films that I shot and of productions I have seen. The worst problem with this theater is the parking. But I guess that's the worst everywhere in Hollywood. So ride your bike if you can and hopefully the friendly folks will let you park it inside, either in the gallery or in the kitchen or in the back. Or take the bus down Western. Or carpool if you must. But if you arrive by car, you need to give yourself plenty of time to find parking. And if you decide to spend the afternoon here into the evening, there are plenty of opportunities to go and eat at nearby restaurants. You can also bring your lunch and sit in their air-conditioned gallery and enjoy the quiet. Bring a book and read. They also have a clean bathroom which is a total plus!

Now here is a list of shows I have seen:


And of this list, here are the shows that I really enjoyed:

Blackbird has powerful performances by both actors, as they deal with difficult and complicated subject matter. I wasn't familiar with this play so it caught me by surprise. I loved how the space was used and the actors fluid emotional changes were exceptional! This is a must see show!

Chimpskin is the type of show I would love to see more of. I love plays that have live instruments. I love plays that play with shadow and light. I love plays that use few words and draw you in with action. The actors were fantastic and really put their heart into this production. Their emotions were real, not acted. They were beautiful to watch and if I didn't have a bunch of other shows to catch, I would watch this production again! Go and see it! This is also a must see show!

Shakespeare and Chill was a perfect show to end the day! It had dance and music and singing and the only thing I didn't like is that it ended so abruptly. I did chill and I wanted to chill some more. Definitely recommend!

Nosferatu - A Symphony in Terror is something I wanted to see since last year and I'm glad I caught it last night at Studio/Stage. Again, this is the kind of show I love. No word, but music, movement, light play, and dancing. Though I loved this show, I must say that the projection I didn't like. The projected words were blocked by the actors, for one. And the projected films took away from me being able to focus on the actors. I like to use my imagination and the background film distracted me from what was happening on the stage. I would love to see this show again if they decide to lose the projector. But if you are not easily distracted by the screen, definitely see this show!

Three Can Keep a Secret was hilarious! The story, most of the acting (though I don't like when people constantly shout at each other), and the concept were really fun. And today I was still thinking of how the show might have ended if we, the audience, would have chosen differently. This show is great fun!

So You Want to Be a Vampire is a horror comedy. I usually don't see anything this dark but since Vampire stories are from my neck of the woods (I'm Hungarian), I had to see this show. And I'm glad I did because I ran into an old friend and we were laughing our asses off together. There is a blood splatter zone, which I'm glad I avoided! You will be soaked if you sit in the front two rows but you can ask for a poncho when you pick up your ticket. See this show if you don't mind seeing stage blood and some gore. It's a lot of fun!

MexiStani! is a must see! Sofie was funny and she made audience members cry, including me! She talks about her family, about how easy it is to misjudge people, about how love and laughter can conquer differences, and about LGBTQI issues. She touched on issues that everyone, I mean EVERYONE in the audience could relate to. There were people of all races and all ages, nodding, laughing out loud, wiping tears, or chuckling at something that Sofie was telling. she brought people together and at the end she delivered a powerful message that was unexpected. See this show and bring your family with you!

Buffy Kills Edward: A Musical Romp is truly a musical romp. It brought back memories of when my husband and I used to see all the Twilight movies or when I watched all the Buffy series. Since I don't watch much tv or movies, most plays that are about tv shows or movies go over my head but this one didn't. I had an awesome time! I'm sure this show will win some awards! Go and see this musical!

What They Said About Love is a lovely one person show by Steve Budd. There is no prop, no changes, just Steve in a black box theater and your imagination. I liked that. The character changes were purely physical and vocal and very subtle. I didn't want to look away because I was afraid to miss a character. I really had to use my memory to remember who is who. It could have been confusing but I enjoyed it because the show was so simple.

Two Motherfuckers on a Ledge is a beautifully written and performed piece that taught me something about myself and about being a mother. Simple setting, beautiful writing, and powerful performances. A must see!

Upstairs - A Musical Tragedy has closed this past weekend but if they decide to extend, you should see it. This production was a heartfelt homage to a 1973 gay bar arson in New Orleans, that took 32 lives. The music and the singing really connected the actors. I hope this will be either extended or brought back to stage again after the Fringe, so you can see it!

The Interference has also closed but hopefully this production will be performed all over the US and all over Highschool and College campuses. The writing, the acting, and the entire production was perfect and it was nice to see a full house on a subject matter that people shy away from. Sexual abuse. On campus. And I learned so much about what it takes to "come out" and the politics that come in the way of the truth. The ugliness of peer pressure and how small simple words can affect how one is perceived. I learned about myself. Memories of my past resurfaced. I was on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. This play must be extended! In the theater and in schools!

ENCI is an actor and recently turned writer and director. She is an urban cyclist, passionate about living intentionally, about leaving less behind and about living healthy. Enci is a member of SAG and AFTRA and is on the board of the 501(c)4 Bikeside and is co-founder of the Bike Writers Collective. Enci teaches all over town about web etiquettes and social media and is involved with the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council where she serves on the Arts & Culture Committee. Enci is passionate about leaning new things and currently she is studying ASL. You can visit her at http://EnciPerforms.com or read about her adventures at http://illuminateLA.com