Hip Shot: I Feel Funny: True Misadventures in Stand-Up Comedy


Tree House Lounge

Remaining performances (tickets available here):

Thursday July 23 at 8 p.m
Saturday, July 25 at 4:45 p.m.
Sunday, July 26 at 12 p.m.

They Say: Stand-up comedian Adam Ruben’s hilarious new one-man show explores the pitfalls of a career in comedy, from horrific open mic nights to ill-conceived road gigs to sobbing, offended cafeteria ladies.

Amanda Says: You know how famous comics love to go on Fresh Air or The Daily Show and talk about the rough-and-tumble days before they packed crowds in at the Comedy Cellar or had their own podcast or HBO special? Unappreciative or nonexistent audiences, seedy bars, late nights, etc.? Watching Adam Ruben’s hour-long stand-up show I Feel Funny: True Misadventures in Stand-Up Comedy is a little like that. Read more Hip Shot: I Feel Funny: True Misadventures in Stand-Up Comedy

How Did a Hardware Store Become a Fringe Venue?

exterior night

Was I in the wrong place? I arrived at 910 Bladensburg Rd. NE to see The Great Awkward Hope and found myself in front of hardware store W.S. Jenks & Son instead. Turns out I was right where I was supposed to be. Once I wandered through aisles of doorknobs, air conditioners and screws, I found a theater that seats 104 people. Read more How Did a Hardware Store Become a Fringe Venue?

Today’s Fringenda: Cheeky Edition


Leave it to Fringe to call upon the most evil dictator in the world as a pick-me-up. In addition to Hitler's wild adventures, you can also check out a sideshow act, although we won't be able to guarantee your safety from gross things.

Artful Justice (W.S. Jenks & Son, 6 p.m.) — Adolf Hitler (yes, that Hitler; you were expecting another?) becomes an artist in Greenwich Village in this historical shuffle that revels in bad taste. Oh, and he gets a Jewish lawyer, too. "The play is undeniably smart," our Morgan Baskin declared.

Straight Faced Lies (Logan Fringe Arts Space: Upstairs, 6:30 p.m.) — A standout cast helps to fill some of the script's gaps in this family drama. Our Peter Orvetti praised the "skillful direction" of Ryan S. Taylor, and says the show boasts "some of the best acting at Fringe."

Cheeky Monkey Sideshow Presents: CMSS X 3D, OK? (Logan Fringe Arts Space: Trinidad Theatre, 8 p.m.) — This sideshow act changes night to night, so you never know what you're liable to get. But here's an idea: At the Capital Fringe preview event, Cheeky Monkey's delegate made — and then ate — a balloon animal. If that sounds unmissable, get your tickets now.

Neda Wants to Die (W.S. Jenks & Son, 9:30 p.m.) — A United Nations caseworker learns the hard way that "bearing witness" isn't always enough in this searing portrayal of the gulf between war victims and their aid workers. It's "brutal and compelling," our Cassie Balfour says.

Handout photo courtesy of Paul Gillis Photography

Hip Shot: Ripple of Hope: One Teacher’s Journey to Make an Impact


Tree House Lounge

Remaining performances (tickets available here):

Thursday, July 23 at 9:45 p.m.
Saturday, July 25 at 6:30 p.m.

They say: A true-life story about a drama teacher struggling to engage her inner city students with everything from gangsta improvs to a rap version of Annie. Soon she learns the obstacle is not her students but a troubled NYC school system.

Andrew’s take: Karen Sklaire wanted to make a difference, so she became a drama teacher. But it’s hard to shake the feeling that the person she wanted to make a difference for was herself. Maybe it’s the spurious way she connects being in New York on 9/11 to finding her passion for teaching; or the shock she describes feeling upon entering the South Bronx to find rampant poverty, crime, and difficult kids; or the emphasis she puts on her own constant physical unease, performing every “teaching” scene as a stammering ball of terror. But look at how many times she says she watched Freedom Writers, the 2007 inner-city-teacher movie starring Hilary Swank! Shouldn’t that be enough? Read more Hip Shot: Ripple of Hope: One Teacher’s Journey to Make an Impact

Hip Shot: How to Be a Good Mom…When You’ve Got a Schizophrenic Mother for a Role Model


The Argonaut

Remaining Performances (tickets available here):

Friday, July 24 at 9:20 p.m.
Saturday, July 25 at 5 p.m.

They say: Pamela Meek shows how to survive a dysfunctional family and thrive as she fights hidden terrors: will she become schizophrenic like her Mom? Marry and have a child? Can she protect her kid from becoming schizophrenic? Could she forgive her mother?

Molly’s take: Occasionally you meet someone in a bar or on an airplane or at a party, you strike up a conversation, and before you know it, they’ve told you so much about their life that you could write and direct a Lifetime Original Movie about them. Of course, some people have had lives filled with enough drama and scandal for a salacious made-for-TV movie, and others just think they have.

Pamela Meek’s life story, as told in an autobiographical one-woman show, probably fits into the first category, but it can be hard to know that from the way she tells it. Meek's profession is psychology, not performing, and perhaps for that reason, she lacks the ability to convey the drama in her anecdotes, or "snapshot memories," as she calls them.  She doesn’t always seem to know which details about her journey, from being a child suffering abuse at the hands of her mentally ill mother, to being a psychologist with a PhD trying to raise a daughter of her own, are the most interesting, and which ones can be skipped over. Read more Hip Shot: How to Be a Good Mom…When You’ve Got a Schizophrenic Mother for a Role Model

Today’s Fringenda: From Bortle to Burlesque


It's just like Fringe to offer a choice between astronomy and nudity. (I was trying to go for a "deep space" pun here, but I'm coming up short.) But if burlesque is too scandalous for you, cool off with a more pious selection.

Bortle 8 (The Argonaut, 6 p.m.) – Chris Davis is on the hunt for total darkness, but you'll find plenty of (metaphorical) light on his wild journey through the cosmos. Our Peter Orvetti enjoyed the ride, with some reservations.

Burlesque Classique's Vaudevillian Romp (Logan Fringe Arts Space: Trinidad Theatre, 6 p.m.) — In the Great Burlesque Throwdown of Aught-15, our Marshall Bradshaw called a tie between this offering and Barenaked Comedy. But only one of those is showing tonight. Check out Vaudevillian if you're looking for corny, old-school humor and some seasoned pros of the art of raunchy spectacle.

Priest/Penitent (Tree House Lounge, 6:15 p.m.) — Thank longtime Shear Madness mastermind Bob Lohrmann for bringing these two whip-smart, one-act shorts interrogating the nature of religion to Fringe. Our Brett Abelman describes it succinctly: "Two perfectly written short plays performed perfectly."

Altered Archives (Gallaudet University: Eastman Studio Theatre, 8:15 p.m.) — Abstract theater is a tricky business, but this show makes it look easy. Our Joshua Buursma says this meditation on memory and history "presents a uniquely successful harmony of medium and message."

Handout photo by Paul Gillis Photography

Hip Shot: Straight Faced Lies


Logan Fringe Arts Space: Upstairs

Remaining Performances (tickets available here):

Thursday, July 23 at 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 26 at 12:15 p.m.

They say: Grab a plate and sharpen your knives for an unforgettable Thanksgiving dinner with the Ryans, where family battles are as bitter as the cranberry sauce and surprises pour out like stuffing.

Peter's take: The exceptional talent on stage in Ryan S. Taylor’s staging of Mark Jason Williams’s 2013 play raises the production above the level of its uneven script. While the play itself offers little you haven't already seen elsewhere, this show is worth it just for the caliber of the actors. Read more Hip Shot: Straight Faced Lies

Hip Shot: Purge


Dance Place: Cafritz Foundation Theater

Remaining performances (tickets available here):

Tuesday, July 21 at 8:30pm
Thursday, July 23 at 5:40pm
Friday, July 24 at 9:30pm

They say:

In Purge, we explore a myriad of emotional content and discover what it means to truly rid oneself of an unwanted feeling, memory or condition, thus creating the ultimate cathartic release.

Emily’s take:

Purge is a production of northern Virginia’s fusiondance, showcasing the choreography of director Candra Eglin and dancers Shelley Siller and Laura Gelles.

The show opens with a black stage and a single spotlight where readers recite words about shattering, dramatic and theatrical. This first piece, “Shards,” then moves into dance, with stylized balletic and jerky movements. The dancers move like music box ballerinas, embodying a detachment corresponding to a post-traumatic emotional state. Read more Hip Shot: Purge

Hip Shot: Here/Hear


Logan Fringe Art Space: Trinidad Theatre

Remaining Performances (tickets available here):

Tuesday, July 21 at 6 p.m.
Friday, July 24 at 8 p.m.
Sunday July 26 at 12 p.m.

They say: Here/Hear, a cultural experiment, is a shared vulnerability exploration drawn from Black experiences within Washington, D.C. It is a collective performance around the curative resonance of bearing witness and being witnessed through healing tradition.

Gabi’s take: An open forum dressed in play’s clothing, Here/Hear boldly exposes itself to unpredictable trajectories based on real-time audience member participation. The entire performance, presented by Conjure! Freedom Collective and Ladan Siad's Practice of Creation Studios, relies heavily on each audience member’s willingness to undress their feelings about race in front of complete strangers. Read more Hip Shot: Here/Hear

Today’s Fringenda: Movers and Shakers Edition

MovementTopping our picks today: Two history plays, a drama about cults, and yet another nontraditional take on Shakespeare (we're sensing a theme this Fringe, or maybe that's every Fringe).

The Movement: 50 Years of Love and Struggle (Flashpoint: Mead Theatre Lab, 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.) — Having personally sat through all of Ron Jones' last Fringe effort, 2013's painfully unfunny The Black/Jew Dialogues, I'm surprised to be in this position now, but: you should go see Jones's new show. Rachel Manteuffel says it intelligently weaves a half-century of painful history into a compelling lecture/personal narrative hybrid: "The characters express personal reactions that tend to get left out of history books."

Salvation Road (Atlas Performing Arts Center: Lab II, 6:15 p.m.) — If you saw that Jonestown documentary and can't get enough weird stories about cults, check out this drama about a young man on a mission to rescue his drifter sister from a sinister preacher. Our Great Leader — err, John Krizel, says the show is "expertly staged and paced."

The Second Coming of Joan of Arc (Dance Place: Hyman M. Perlo Studio, 8:45 p.m.) — Believe us, Joan of Arc has been waiting a very long time to have her shot at the patriarchy. Lizzie Parmenter's one-woman show injects modern feminism into French history, and the resultSala Levin says, is "affecting" and filled with "anxious energy."

Twelfth Night: A Musical Remix (Logan Fringe Arts Space: Trinidad Theatre, 9:45 p.m.) — The music itself may be unnecessary, but the madcap energy that Wanderlust Theatre Company and Eastern Mennonite University bring to Shakespeare's beloved comedy sure isn't. Our Anne Larimer Hart loves the production's "charming clownishness."