Hip Shot: Bargain Basement University
Fort Fringe and Vicinity
Saturday, July 12 at 2 p.m.
Sunday, July 13 at 2 p.m.
Thursday, July 17 at 6 p.m.
Saturday, July 19 at 3 p.m.
Sunday, July 20 at 2 p.m.
Thursday, July 24 at 6 p.m.
Saturday, July 26, at 4 p.m.
Sunday, July 27, at 2 p.m.
They say: Bargain Basement University's team of college administrators are roaming the streets and soliciting students to enroll in our distinctive program. Admission, matriculation and graduation are rolled into one as we streamline education and hand-print your degree on site.
Marshall's Take: Last night, I got a bachelor's degree in one easy step! Almost too easy. Bargain Basement University is not at all your typical Fringe show. For starters, it's not quite a full show.
The first of Capital Fringe's brand new slate of site-specific performances to open, Bargain Basement University is the work of Baltimore-based artist Madeleine Cutrona, with help from her fellow university administrator Benjamin Andrew. If you swing by Fort Fringe or the vicinity (Which is the real, published location, as confirmed by two baffled box office staff members), you may see a wooden cart and two excited university administrators ready to usher you into the job market. Do it. In short order, they will give you the set-up, hand you the punchline, and send you on your way, all for free.
There's also a website, which impresses with its commitment to the satire. It is legitimately handsome and fully-formed, with testimonials from alumni and even BBU-branded clothing in the store. It actually tells much more of the joke than the performance does. But don't click that link! Not yet.
Bargain Basement University thrives when made corporeal. Cutrona and Andrew's earnestness, the oddity of their wooden cart and matching t-shirts, the giddy feeling of your ill-gotten diploma in your hands… It's well worth the few spare minutes it takes to experience all this in person. Though Bargain Basement University's conclusion is a bit abrupt, recommending it is a no-brainer. If you run into these two, go play with them.
See it if: You like sharp satire served silly.
Skip it if: You are, at the moment you spot Cutrona and Andrew, running late to go see another show.