Most Friday nights in our house go like this:
Last night was quite different. Last night, we attended opening night at the IndyFringe Festival. A 10-day festival featuring 336 performances in 7 venues along or near Mass Ave., IndyFringe is not your usual weekend entertainment.
The first show we saw was facebook me, presented at the IndyFringe Basile Theatre by a cast of 10 girls from Young Actors Theatre. As a parent with a kid who uses Facebook, the show really made me think about how my kid uses the technology and how I use it in relation to her. The show isn’t for or against Facebook. It just gives an honest look at how far “likes” and “tags” reach into the real, everyday lives of teenagers.
The opening montage when all 10 actors were on stage, engaging in social media in various forms captured the onslaught of noise that being plugged in brings to the lives of those who use it. I felt more than a little convicted when one girl’s dad posted something on Facebook about his 13 year-old throwing a temper tantrum. While the dad was not wrong, the reality of the impact of his comment on his daughter hit home, knowing that I’ve posted similar things about my own kids’ behavior.
All of the actors were believable and well-suited for the roles, though some needed to speak up a little bit to be heard. My favorite was the girl who played Jessie, a character who pretends to do drugs just to fit in. Her performance was comical yet believable. And, oh yeah, she’s my daughter. Go ahead, call me biased.
Going, Going, Gone
Also at the IndyFringe Basile Theatre was Going, Going, Gone. Billed by Indy writers John Thomas and Lou Harry as a “live auction comedy,” this show is built around audience participation. A bevy of unusual — and mostly awful — items are up for auction. Audience members armed with Monopoly money engaging in bidding wars for things such as plastic ice cream bowls, awful artwork and, last night, a hideous stuffed boar’s head. The two actors improv the story based on audience participation. The result is fresh and funny, though on a few items the schtick carried on a bit too long and I was ready for the gavel to drop with the cry of “sold!”
The real beauty of Going, Going, Gone is that it’s guaranteed to be a different show every night. Each performance will feature two different actors, a different base storyline and new, tacky things to be auctioned. Buyer beware: Whatever you bid on and win with your fake money goes home with you. I’m thinking some wife somewhere is not too happy about that boar’s head.
Other shows that I plan to see include I Am Peter Pan; Is That Your Real Hair?; Screw You, I’m Nancy Drew; and Dracula: The Panto, one of several family-friendly performances. In exchange for blogging about the shows, I have a media pass that allows me to see each performance at no charge and I intend to get lots of mileage out of that.
The IndyFringe Festival runs through Sunday, August 26. The schedule of shows is available at IndyFringe.org Tickets can be purchased on the IndyFringe website or at the door. Many shows sold out last night, so get your tickets early if you can.