Hindi Greenberg: Nugget Fringe Festival offers something for everybody
Special to Prospector
The Nugget Fringe Festival is advertised as “Theater for all hair colors,” a clever way of saying there’s something for anyone.
That’s certainly true of our local Fringe, happening now in various Grass Valley locations. Consisting of 115 performances of 31 different shows, the Nugget Fringe is a compact and euphoria-inducing compilation of events that will often thrill or intrigue you.
Even less than stellar events will be a best effort by performers who may be inexperienced or wanting to put something new in front of an audience.
Fringe festivals exist worldwide as havens for underground and emerging arts scenes and include plays, monologues, poetry, experiential events, dance, comedy and, basically, anything anyone wants to present. Most fringe festivals are un-juried, open to all performers. This openness nurtures the work of both the well-established and the obscure — everyone has an opportunity to participate, whether polished or imperfect. Often, these are performances that wouldn’t support a long run or the cost of renting a large venue, but as small, one-time events, they are exciting and unique.
In its second year, the Nugget Fringe has increased in scope almost two-fold. Performances take place in seven venues, often with overlapping times. Each is about an hour and vary in price, from free to $35. Most are $10-$15.
Last weekend, I attended three performances at the Off Center Stage. Richard Winters’ tour de force, titled “Sleeping in the Middle of the Bed,” illuminates the travails, fears and revelations of a newly divorced man. Winters is a force of nature, throwing himself around a double bed on an otherwise bare stage, espousing on relationship issues, both happy and sad, that couples traverse.
For “The Three Hour Plays,” various playwrights were given the same subject and three hours to write a play no longer than ten minutes, which were then read and performed by five actors. During the hour-plus show I attended, the talented performers completed seven short plays. Most were quite engaging, and it was interesting to see what a variety of ideas were created from a single subject. Performances next week will have new plays.
“Crossroads” is comprised of two plays, both written by local playwright Robin Wallace. The longer “Tea Rose Room” is a dark comedy about the residents of a board and care home, well acted by the talented cast. The short “This Termination Thing” is nicely done by two actors discussing a life-altering decision.
I then rushed to The Open Book on Maltman Drive for one more show, a songfest by SierraCapella, singers who brought tuneful sounds to the cozy environs, where I bought a tasty beverage and snack from next door’s Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters.
Next weekend, I’ll attend several more performances. I’m looking forward to seeing Damiian Lang’s “How to Make Love in Traffic.” Last year his show was terrific; it will be interesting to see if he can best himself.
For a stimulating and fun time, attend the Nugget Fringe. Maybe in ten years it will be a destination festival for people from across the country.
Hindi Greenberg loves all kinds of theater and finds the fringe idea, with its eclectic performers and performances, very exciting and thought-provoking.
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