Today’s Fringenda: Sentient Pairs Edition


Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, the artists who inspired the surreal bio play "Coosje."

Capital Fringe IX, Day 4, and miles to go before we sleep. For the last few days, we've been making recommendation of which shows to gamble on based on nothing more than the artists' prior work — a reasonable standard — or in some cases, on how much we like the title. (Giant Box of Porn, anyone? Everybody Knows This Is Now Here?)

That's because despite  radical advances in electronic surveillance it takes time for the human assets of the Fringeworthy Action News & Commentary Squad to file their dispatches from the field. Fortunately, we've been collating all weekend — collating more than we should have, perhaps, but we're young — and we're now in a position to offer recommendations of CapFringe shows playing today based by solid observational evidence. Satisfaction not guaranteed, but we like your odds. Let's go!

Is This Gonna Be on the Test, Miss? (Caos on F, 1:45 p.m.) — Our critic Joshua Buursma was deeply moved by Ronna J. Levy's first-person account of her years teaching remedial English in Los Angeles while continuing to seek acting jobs. "The show’s best moments come from Levy’s students, whom she manages to conjure up in surprising detail," he wrote.  "Levy only needs a few gestures, a tone of voice, and occasionally a writing sample projected on stage (these little glimpses of documentary reality are one of the production’s subtle strengths) to make these students come alive for us."

TAME. (Gearbox, 2 p.m.) — Our own Jonelle Walker wrote this Southern Gothic gloss on The Taming of the Shrew, set in Louisiana circa 1960. The "froward" Katherine of Shakespeare's comedy is now Cathryn, and Petruchio is Patrick Vacus, a young minister. Sounds like an intriguing combination of setting and attitude.

Walken in His Shoes (Fort Fringe: Redrum, 1:45 p.m.) — "A man can be artist in anything," Christopher Walken observed in Tony Scott's gruesome 2004 revenge drama Man on Fire. "Creasy's art is death. He's about to paint his masterpiece." Playwright Ruben Rosthenhausler's art is Christopher Walken impressions, and this admirably goofy riff about a society of Walken impersonators is a masterpiece of its genre. Its genre being "comedies that are mostly just platforms for the entire cast to tawlk Walkenese that have the good sense to wrap up in under an hour." I like it because it commits to the bit. Wow-ow.

Will Work For (Gearbox, 6:30 p.m.) — Dacyl Acevedo's tale of being the first of her family to attend college but still unable to secure steady work for a period of years following the fiscal near-meltdown of 2008 got to the oft-taciturn Rachel Manteuffel. Acevedo "embodies also a small army of the unemployed, as well as those whose employment revolves around unemployed people, but mostly she shows us her frenzied, increasingly desperate self, scrabbling for opportunity and any chance to feel productive," Rachel averred.

Coosje (Goethe Institut Gallery, 8:15 p.m.) — Our Greg Benson maintains this surreal musical biography of the artist-couple Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen was intriguing enough to set him Googling to try to learn the significance of the jet-setting sentient pear also featured in the show.

It's gonna be a hot one today. Remember to hydrate, thrillseekers.