2021 Fringe Festival Performing Art Award Recipients

Top Five Most Viewed

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#1 - ROAR: A New Musical - Bohdi Theatre

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#2 - Becoming Magic Mike - DK Reinmer

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#3 - BASCULE: Balancing Art and Passion - KC Aerial Arts

When - VidaDance Company 16x9

#4 - When - Vida Dance

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#5 - Faring Through the Ages - Rising Tide Productions

Overall #1 Audience Pick

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DramaUrge - Forest Kinsey

Executive Producer Picks

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ROAR: A New Musical - Bohdi Theatre

King James

The Fabulous King James Bible - New Generation Theatrical

Staff Picks

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My Dear Debbie - Casey Tregeagle

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DramaUrge - Forest Kinsey

King James

The Fabulous King James Bible - New Generation Theatrical

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 Becoming Magic Mike - DK Reinmer

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 Gryla - Not For Children - Christian Hege

ALL YOUR FAVORITES

Favorite Comedy Show - DramaUrge - Forest Kinsey

Favorite Dance Show - RhythymScape - Kathak Aura

Favorite Drama Show - My Dear Debbie - Casey Tregeagle

Favorite Film Show - DramaUrge - Forest Kinsey

Favorite Music Show - TIE between My Favorite Things: The Chocolate Mix Tape - Cia Michelle and Here's Why Beatboxing Will Change Your Life - SKIPPY

Favorite Musical Theatre Show - ROAR: A New Musical - Bohdi Theatre

Favorite Spoken Word Show - TIE between Laughing at Funerals - Ryan McChesney and Joy of Lift/Okay, It's Okay, It'll All Be Okay - Alexej Savreux

Favorite Theatre Show - TIE between Thye Fabulouse King James Bible - New Generation Theatrical and Moliere Than Thou - Timothy Mooney Repertory Theatre

Favorite Storytelling Show - TIE between Worst Cruises Ever - Mike Speller and Gryla-Not For Children - Christian Hege

Favorite Variety Show - Here's Why Beatboxing Will Change Your Life - SKIPPY

Favorite Show for a Cozy Fringe Night - DramaUrge - Forest Kinsey

Favorite Show for the Family - DramaUrge - Forest Kinsey

Favorite Show for the Adults - DramaUrge - Forest Kinsey

Favorite Show You Would Like to Watch Again - DramaUrge - Forest Kinsey

Show You Would Like to Watch Live - DramaUrge - Forest Kinsey

Congratulations to all our Winners!

All 2021 Shows

The Comical Heathen

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Moby Dick or the Whale/Tracers

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The Black Creatures in A Mezzopiano Afternoon

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The CommUNITY Dance Cypher

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Symbiotique Duo

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#txtzero

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In Their Own Words

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Mamihlapinatapai

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Staged

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Worst Cruises Ever!

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Triple Bypass: 3 Ten Minute Plays About Living for Death & Dying for Life

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When

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This Podcast Is… Uncalled For – Patrick Poe

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This Podcast Is… Uncalled For – Jessica Whitfield

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This Podcast Is… Uncalled For – Chris Hurt

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These Confessing Animals

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The Most Random Sketch Show with Kat & Sarah

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The kNew-Born

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The Fabulous King James Bible

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The Comical Heathen

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Tales of a Reluctant World Traveler

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Safe

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Rosegold

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RhythmScape – Indian Classical Dance Experience

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ROAR: A New Musical

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Qaddafi’s Cook

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‘One Sacred Day’ and Other Tales from the Land

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One Easy Lie

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On the Concept of Irony (with No Reference to Socrates)

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On Account of Sex

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My Favorite Things: “The Chocolate Mixtape”

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My Dear Debbie

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Molière than Thou

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Laughing at Funerals

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JUDAS

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It’s Now or Never: My Life in the Middle Ages

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Joy of Life/OK it’s OK it’ll be OK

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IFCKC Presents: Film at the FRINGE

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Home is Where the Haunt Is

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Here’s Why Beatboxing Will Change Your Life

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Hell, MT

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Haunted

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Grýla – Not for Children

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Fast Forward

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Faring Through the Ages

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Dreams And Memories

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DramaUrge

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Becoming Magic Mike: An Action Adventure Comedy

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BASCULE: Balancing Art and Passion

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A Day at the Beach

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All 2021 Reviews

The CommUNITY Dance Cypher

“The CommUNITY Dance Cypher” by Maya Tillman-Rayton brings high-energy hip hop and street moves to the Kansas City Fringe Fest. This collection of performances features a diverse group of dancers from Kansas City and Lawrence. The show is divided into 5 acts each centered around the theme of a dance cypher, defined as a gathering…

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Symbiotique duo

I must admit straight up:  I like experimental music (somewhere I have a cassette of Switched-on Bach), I like improvisation, and I adore the saxophone. Featuring Seth Andrew David on laptop and electronics and Michael Eaton on tenor saxophone, this 31-minute performance is excellently filmed and recorded. This Fringe entry is an extension of their second…

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Staged

In Staged, director Abby Palen and her ensemble cast—half of which is the unknowing live audience—offer viewers something short and intimate and weird. In other words, your typical atypical Fringe Festival fair. They’ve got skits and songs. They address Covid, climate change, and identity politics. There’s even a bit of improv. In the 30-ish minute work, sometimes…

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It’s Now or Never: My Life in the Middle Ages

Middle Ages takes on alternate meeting at Fringe “It’s now or never” elicits memories of a hip-gyrating Elvis Presley, but in the 2021 Kansas City Fringe Festival, it means a show about how to navigate the fact that ageing gracefully is anything but graceful–it’s humorous. As a comic storyteller, author/performer Judah Leblang tells the stories…

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My Dear Debbie

‘My Dear Debbie’ uses comedy for strong message Go back to the 1950’s television when Loretta Young twirled into her room to greet viewers with her striking gowns.  Remember when Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher were America’s sweethearts.  Remember when Hollywood housed the stars.  Who does not remember when “I Love Lucy” was the most…

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The Black Creatures in A Mezzopiano Afternoon

Full disclosure: I’m a process person. I’ll take sitting in on a rehearsal over opening night any day. So, imagine my delight when that’s exactly what Jade and Xavier offer with The Black Creatures in A Mezzopiano Afternoon. On location in what appears to be a rehearsal studio, the Kansas City duo—born and raised—gives us beautiful…

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The Most Random Sketch Show with Kat & Sarah

What do you get when you combine improv, sketch comedy, topical content, race awareness, local jokes, and supportive performers? You get The Most Random Comedy Sketch Show with Kat & Sarah from Yaskween Productions. Katherine “Kat” Garry, Sarah Menez, and Robert Coppage III (with a little help from Shenez Blanton and Shereese Murphy) pack 30 minutes with…

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Laughing at Funerals

Funeral protocol prompts personal narrative Actor/Comedian Ryan McChesney from Kansas City opens his one-man show “Laughing at Funerals” with a memory of the first funeral he attended, and, from there his life-story unfolds at the 2021 Kansas City Fringe Festival. Who remembers the first funeral you attended?  Did anyone tell you what to expect?  Did…

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Becoming Magic Mike: An Action Adventure Comedy

Almost one-man-show uses lots of physical comedy Short of plot, heavy on skin, DK Reinemer’s KC Fringe 2021 Show, “Becoming Magic Mike: An Action Adventure Comedy” features lots of physical comedy, undressing, singing, dressing, jokes, undressing, dancing, undressing… get the picture? As an Orlando cop, Magic Mark (yes, that’s right, Mark) takes the audience on…

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These Confessing Animals

Thirteen poets. Forty minutes. Countless moments of resonance. In this mixed media experience which bears the fingerprints of both the Confessing Animals Podcast and The Writing Workshop KC, each performer enhances their work with a visual element and asks the viewer to see them—really see them—whether they’re placed within the frame of the camera’s gaze…

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BASCULE: Balancing Art and Passion

‘BASCULE’ nurtures aerial excellence Grace, style, precision, and strength characterize the beautiful “BASCULE: Balancing Art and Passion,” the 2021 Kansas City Fringe Festival entry from local aerial artists. Always a featured act in circuses, aerial acts caused spectators’ palms to sweat during their performances.  Then, along came Cirque du Soleil that eliminated the animal acts and devoted…

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IFCKC Presents: Film at the FRINGE

IFCKC offers a showcase each year during the Fringe. It is always interesting, offering a mix of experimental short films, documentary shorts, comedy, drama, and horror, often featuring local actors. This year’s entry is no exception. There are some standouts: “Stories without words: Christian Zehnder” is a fascinating short profiling a Swiss performance artist, trained…

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The Fabulous King James Bible

Not-So-Accurate History Elicits Funny Video Probably the most common translation of The Bible remains The King James Version, which serves as the starting place for the Kansas City Fringe Festival’s video, “The Fabulous King James Bible.” As the son of Mary I of Scotland (Mary, Queen of Scots), James inherited the Scottish throne to become…

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Rosegold

Donna Kay Yarborough’s one-woman fringe show, Rosegold, will stick with you long after the video ends. In much the same way that the movie “Get Out” broke the horror story mold, Donna bends the horror genre into something new.  The term “Hung Over Horror” doesn’t quite fit, but it’s the best term this reviewer could…

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Dreams and Memories

Lorraine Darnell delivers a collection of four short stories, approximately fifteen minutes each, against a peaceful wooded backdrop and evoking memories of listening to Mr. Rogers as a child. Storytelling is difficult to translate to a recorded medium with the same energy and connection as with a live audience, but her polished and well-rehearsed delivery…

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Tales of a Reluctant World Traveler

Somerville, MA-based artist Randy Ross entertains Fringe audiences with an “innocent abroad” take on his 2006 adventures and misadventures during a four-month-four-continent trip spanning the globe.   His one-hour performance combines story-telling, a slide show which does not last as long as the ones your friends put you through, and sardonic kvetching about himself and…

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Visual Arts

It is exciting to see so much diversity in the visual artwork at the KC Fringe Festival in 2021! The variety of mediums and styles is intriguing and helps to showcase the talent among the visual arts community in Kansas City. I especially appreciate Sheron Smith’s theater artwork. I am a lover of the arts…

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The kNew-Born

If this year’s Fringe Festival had a “Best of Show,” “The kNew-Born” from BeThePhenom of Braymer, MO would be among the top contenders. Without pity and with a clear gaze, poet t.l. sanders brings a deep and compassionate vision to the human cost of problems most of us only read about in the news: the…

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Fast Forward

Fans of the TV show Black Mirror will love this low-budget dystopian vision of the future. Told in 6 short monologues and interwoven with another story, Fast Forward takes us into the world of tomorrow through the eyes of writer Lavinia Robertson. Two of the stories are focused on the consequences of climate change (Wonders…

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Here’s Why Beatboxing Will Change Your Life

Audiences will enjoy taking Luke “SKIPPY” Harbur’s beatboxing class. He starts with a 20-minute history of the origin and evolution of beatboxing before doing a 15-minute interactive workshop. SKIPPY ends with a 10 minute set of 3 of his original songs. SKIPPY was an enthusiastic teacher that would make even the reluctant learner more interested…

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Fast Forward

‘Fast Forward’ displays futuristic services For those who have been subject to “live chat” or robotic customer service, a short futuristic piece, “Fast Forward” peers into the awaiting customer service representatives in a fast-paced show for the 2021 Kansas City Fringe Festival. Who among us has not tried to “live chat” with a robotic who…

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‘One Sacred Day’ and Other Tales from the Land

Trish Eisele’s One Sacred Day and Other Tales weaves a narrative of anecdotes, adventure, history, and spirituality with Apache warrior Cochise at its center. Eisele maintains visual interest by cutting in photos of her travels, maintaining engaging eye contact, and even varying her wardrobe and backdrop. At times the tales sound like so many dime-store Western novels…

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When

VidaDance tells stories through ballet For ballet lovers, VidaDance brings another entry to the Kansas City Fringe Festival with their 2021 entry, “When,” based on a Rudyard Kipling poem, “If.” Unlike other shows, “If” features four short pieces that tell simple stories of common people and the situations they encounter through daily life.  Most of…

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Home is Where the Haunt is

“Home is Where the Haunt Is” by Sadie and Melvin Teel takes viewers to Bobby’s house. Bobby is lonely, suffering from anxiety and hearing things. Could she be turning into her crazy mother, or is there another explanation? Bobby tries to ground herself in reality by channel surfing on her living room TV. Not even…

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ROAR: A New Musical

“ROAR: A New Musical” debuts at KC Fringe Festival A special new musical for families of all ages, “ROAR: A New Musical” makes its debut at the 2021 KC Fringe Festival with a story about clowns, a circus, and dancing bears. The show, locally written and developed, tells the story of a young bear with…

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JUDAS

What would happen if villains of the Bible had their own YouTube Channels? Would Noah give subscribers tips on nautical housekeeping while hawking Two-by-Two branded “poo pourri” or would Salome show videos of people reacting to the head of John the Baptist on a platter? BeeJay Aubertin-Clinton invites audiences to imagine if Judas had his…

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On the Concept of Irony (with No Reference to Socrates)

Perennial Fringe favorite, phillip andrew bennett low is back this year with one of his strongest offerings to date. Lowe is able to use the digital environment to enhance his storytelling to great effect. The backgrounds are visually interesting and fit the words and action. The music adds emphasis at times and helps drive the…

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A Day at the Beach

Windy, a lesbian, atheist, socialist, meets Barbara Ann, a conservative Idaho preacher’s daughter, on a beach before the apocalypse in Ultrasuede Productions’ performance of “A day at the Beach”. The script was written by Jaye Lee Vocque.  The play, directed by Amber Miller, was filmed on stage before a live audience and features Dahlia Vocque…

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This Podcast is Uncalled for with Patrick Poe and Mike Czerniewski

Fringe features several local podcasts Very different from other types of KC Fringe Festival shows, “This Podcast is Uncalled for with Patrick Poe and Mike Czerniewski” bring something new for 2021. Host Mike Czerniewski interview guests on his show that’s a kind of open microphone with video added.  In one particular podcast, he interviews Patrick…

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Faring Through the Ages

Writer’s memories cloud pain, reality When pen goes to paper, sometimes the truth changes at the hands of the author in efforts to make a story more attractive, more engaging, and sometimes to cover for insecurities or unpleasant weaknesses. “Faring through the Ages” allows new voice, author Emmaline McCabe, to create a story about a…

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#txtzero

No script creates funny Performance Art When words fail me, this reviewer wrestles for any words to describe a humorous entry in the 2021 Fringe Festival that has no script, no words, and allows a comic performance to stretch into the absurd. “Brian Feldman produces, directs, and stars in a film adaptation of one of…

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RhythmScape – Indian Classical Dance Experience

Kathak Aura brings “RhythmScape – Indian Classical Dance Experience” to the Kansas City Fringe Festival. Kathak is a classical dancer from Northern India that tells stories through intricate hand movements, musical footwork, and pirouettes. The show is a collection of 4 different performances filmed on stages and in studios. It opened with an “Invocation to…

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On Account of Sex

August 18, 1920 marked the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote nationwide. In “On Account of Sex”, longtime Fringe fixtures Bryan Colley & Tara Varney present a brief oral history of the fight for women’s suffrage, starting with the Seneca Falls Conference in 1848 and…

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Grýla – Not for Children

Christian Hege’s poetic adaptation of the Icelandic Folklore tale of Grýla and the Christmas Men was a creepy delight best served late at night. The black and white video style was simple but effective. Christian’s expressive face was the focus of the video and shadowing was added to create a creepy effect. The storyteller changed…

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My Favorite Things: ” The Chocolate Mixtape”

I caught Cia Michelle two years ago at the 2019 KC Fringe Festival and recognized her talent. She is back with a filmed version of a live performance which she was able to put together with a number of excellent backup musicians and guest artists. Cia Michelle can sing in many different genres, can improvise…

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Hell, MT

If one were moved to make a prediction about art and how it follows life, one could do worse than to suggest that, for the next year or so, we’re going to see a lot of plays about isolation and being trapped alone. Hell, MT (produced by “Dream Team Productions”) takes a rather interesting approach…

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In Their Own Words

The Black Repertory Theatre created RISE (Repertory in School Empowerment program) in 2016 to foster creativity and performance for high school students who may not have access to art or theater in their schools. This 22-minute program features three works written during this Covid year, performed as staged readings. In a virtual Fringe Festival, every…

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DramaUrge

Great editing and fresh ideas characterize ‘DramaUrge’ “DramaUrge” definitely competes in the 2021 Kansas City Fringe Festival with its artistic expression and absurd storyline. With a title like “DramaUrge,” viewers might expect something dramatic or stylized.  What viewers find is a brilliantly crafted and edited piece with one man playing all the characters, simultaneously. The…

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Mamihlapinatapai

This 13-minute experimental film by Poetic Thespian Productions of Benbrook, TX is a small, naturalistic jewel. Starring Na’Tori McConnell as a young, sometimes wounded woman in her late teenage years, and Charles Jackson Jr. who wrote and directed the film, as her vulnerable but strong friend, we watch the mundane activities of daily life and…

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Joy of Life/OK it’s OK it’ll be OK

Short Mixed-Media Presentation Challenges Thoughts Local artist Alexej Savreux submitted two short pieces of video to the 2021 Kansas City Fringe Festival, “Joy of Life/OK it’s OK it’ll be OK”; and, while short in time, the pieces contain deep, contemplative ideas. In total, both pieces run in one continuous video of under 20 minutes, but…

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Safe

Italian entry examines isolation in ‘Safe’ During 2020, the COVID pandemic forced many to remain isolated and alone, with a fear of the virus, the care necessary to fight the virus, and precautions that forced the shut downs and cancellations of so many events–including the local fun frenzy of rushing from one show to the…

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#txtzero

DC-based Brian Feldman is introducing his award-winning immersive theater piece “#txtzero,” reimagined in streaming mode at the KC Fringe.   This is, without question, the most unusual and demanding entry in this year’s Fringe. It should attract viewers who are interested in the history of mime, philosophical provocations in the art world, and how streaming…

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Triple Bypass: 3 Ten Minute Plays About Living for Death & Dying for Life

In Triple Bypass, directed by Brian T. Schultz and written by Deena M.P. Ronayne, three small pieces deal with some pretty big themes. There’s a trigger warning, since the production does mention abuse, addiction, and depicts mild violence, but these elements are handled in a very ‘suitable for all audiences’ kind of way. And closed captioning…

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My Dear Debbie

Casey Tregeagle has managed to do something in “My Dear Debbie” which is devilishly hard to pull-off: create a dramedy with nods to well-known TV shows and movies of the 1950s and 60s which is not cringe-inducing and leaves behind a potent message.   “Debbie” and “Beverly” have excellent chemistry and outstanding comic timing in…

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Molière Than Thou

‘Molière Than Thou’ Celebrates French Master with Laughs For a good start to the 2021 Kansas City Fringe Festival, try “Molière Than Thou” by Tim Mooney which offers a fun look at the famous French playwright and some of his most distinguished characters. A group of Kansas City artists and enthusiasts have been planning a…

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Worst Cruises Ever!

Mike Speller’s “Worst Cruises Ever!” is actually two separate presentations. The first, “The Dutchman Journals”, is a retelling of the legend of the Flying Dutchman via the diary of one of the crew. On their way home from a long voyage, the crew come upon a shipwreck with a single survivor. The captain’s subsequent actions…

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One Easy Lie

Brooklyn-based Martin Dockery is a theater artist who has won innumerable accolades for his storytelling and one-man shows in the last decade. The pandemic exiled him to Montauk, NY and he has spent over a year separated from his home and the surrounding Long Island community.   The result of this is his Fringe entry,…

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Haunted

Storyteller recants past struggles The title alone attracts viewers who like ghost stories, but “Haunted” by Jamie Mayo takes the viewer in a different direction than viewers might expect. But, this is the Kansas City Fringe Festival, where viewers expect the unexpected. The author and storyteller, Jamie Mayo starts with a ghost story from her…

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The Comical Heathen

Dr. Jerry C. Jaffe is a theater professor at Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio, and also hosts “The Comical Heathen”, a podcast focused on religious satire. This live performance draws on material from his podcast, performed in front of a live audience. Subjects include fallacies and inconsistencies in organized religion, misleading teachings in Christian…

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Worst Cruises Ever!

Worst Cruises Ever In “Worst Cruises Ever” Mike Speller spins two sea-faring tales. The first one is a tragedy of a Dutch ship encountering and reliving a nightmare and the second is an imaginative retelling of the Odyssey.   Mike is an engaging storyteller and actor. His facial expressions and body language enhanced the story…

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Qaddafi’s Cook

Belville Productions and Bons Tempos Theatre of Sausalito, CA, bring an intense, by turns chilling and tragic, look into the lives of two Mexican cooks during the waning days of the Qaddafi regime. The original production, which premiered at the Hotel California in Baja, has translated well into digital format and the ambiguous ending offers…

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