Fringe Festival starts in October
By Antonio De Jesús Aguado
The first Fringe Festival in Latin America will take place in San Miguel de Allende from October 11 to 19, offering accessible performing arts for all audiences in unconventional venues. In its first edition, this new festival in the city will have some competition from one of the most important cultural festivals in the country, the International Cervantino Festival, FIC.
The Fringe Festival, which started in Edinburgh in 1947, offers theater, dance, music and performances for children, many of them free or at reasonable prices. For 60 years the festival has continued to grow and spread to countries around the world. In Edinburgh in 2012 it included more than 2,000 shows in 200 venues.
In 2012, the Encuentro de Teatro (Encounter of Theater) was held in El Sindicato, produced by John Morrow; this event, according to Kate Lowenstein, its executive producer, was so successful that they were motivated to organize a bigger project, the Fringe Festival, which is being described as original, provocative, imaginative and intrepid. Fringe is theater, dance, puppets and more; it is a festival with no censure in which it is easy to participate as a spectator or performer. This event follows the tradition of presenting the untraditional, experimental and unexpected.
In October there are no other major festivals in the city, and for that reason the producers of Fringe decided that it was the perfect month to launch the project. According to Lowenstein they faced criticism because people thought it was crazy to hold another festival while the FIC is going on in Guanajuato (this year from October 9–27), but that did not dissuade them. Besides, said the executive producer, this festival will offer more affordable events than those in Guanajuato, because the groups in the Fringe are not as established as those participating in the FIC. The performances for this event must have minimum technical requirements. They cannot last more than 60 minutes, so they can be adapted for unusual venues such as a street, a carwash, a café, bar or, of course, a theater. The Fringe Festival will include Canadian, American and sanmiguelense actors who are part of more than 20 theater groups.
The inauguration of the festival will take place in the Jardín on October 11 at 5pm with a performance by Danza Viral from Mazatlán; this group will present contemporary dances completely free for the audience.
The same day at 8pm at El Sindicato, Juana in a Million will be performed. This play was also performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and has been acclaimed in the United Kingdom as well as in Mexico. The role of Juana is played by actress Vicky Araico. The moving one-woman show tells a story of survival, love and hope inspired by true stories of immigrants to the United Kingdom.
Sofi Lambert is a Canadian actress who participated with The List in the New York Fringe in 2012, where she won an award for overall excellence in a solo performance. The day of the inauguration at 8pm, Sofi will present her work at the Teatro Santa Ana. The List addresses the problems of an individualistic society and tells the story of a mother of three who lives in the Canadian countryside. The actress confesses to the public that she tries to organize her life by obsessively following her lists of things to do. Contrasujeto is another play in the festival. It will be performed on Sunday, October 13, at 6pm in the Teatro Santa Ana. In this comedy Guillermo Jair plays nine different characters.
After leaving a mental hospital, the protagonist poses and faces a series of existential questions. An alternative comedy is Quartet for Four, a play in which a group of four actresses give a concert in a theater. The peculiar thing about this group is that the instruments they play are their bodies and voices, and by the end of the concert this unusual quartet will have achieved a profound encounter between music and acting. It takes place Sunday, October 13, at 7pm at El Sindicato
On October 16, at 10pm VC and Friends will present the concert show Las Parafernaliettes. During the course of 120 minutes a group of women in their fifties gather to face their biggest fears. During the concert, the trio of women will talk not only about how complicated it is to be a woman, but also to be a man.
One of the highlights of the festival will be the show by Joey Arias, a New York icon, who for more than 30 years has been a performance, cabaret and drag artist. He will present Arias on a Holiday at Mint on October 18, at 10pm.
Adios Carlota (Goodbye Carlota), which will be performed on October 16 at 8pm at the Ángela Peralta, is a play with no dialogue that uses hyperrealistic puppets, recommended for people over 12 years of age. Adios Carlota uses special effects and live piano music to help tell its story of the actions that led Empress Carlota to insanity, through the fragmentation of episodes of her life. Thus, on a journey through her memories, her delusions and her enigmatic gaze, the audience will deal with such topics as human passion, loneliness and madness that any individual deals with in the depths of his or her being.
A sanmiguelense group will present Juegos de adultos (Adult Games). This is the story of Claudia and Hugo, who have been married for 12 years. Tired of their image as the perfect couple, they decide to fake a separation among friends, a funny but dangerous game.
The organizers expect to bring more than 500 people from other cities. The tickets (except for Adios Carlota, 200 and 150 pesos, discount of 50 percent for students, Arias on a Holiday 250 pesos in advance and 300 at the box office, and Las Parafernaliettes, 100 pesos plus a minimum comsumption of 120 pesos) are 100 pesos, and 50 pesos for students. Tickets are on sale at the venues of the events: Teatro Santa Ana, Ángela Peralta, Shelter, Mint, El Sindicato, BajíoGo and the Consejo Turístico. Check he entire program in Qué Pasa. Also visit www.fringesanmiguel.