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Posted at 3:35 PM ET, 07/ 2/2008

The New Face of Fringe

By Stephanie Merry

"Dr. Serenity Hawkfire's Beyond Being Workshop," part of the Fringe Festival lineup, pokes fun at New Age workshops. (Photo courtesy of Suzanne Falter-Barns LLC)

There is a silent war being waged between the mainstream and the offbeat around Mt. Vernon Square. On one street, a billboard for "Hancock" shows Will Smith, his face six stories high, looming over passersby, while a block away at Fort Fringe, the new headquarters for the Fringe Festival, staffers are diligently working on the final touches of their new building. Based on the early reviews of "Hancock" and the overwhelmingly large Fringe Festival schedule, I'd say alternative theater is winning.

The third annual Capital Fringe Festival, which begins July 10, is the biggest yet with 649 performances in 20 venues spanning 18 days.

Two of those venues will be at Fort Fringe, the space where A.V. Ristorante Italiano used to be. The Baldacchino, a temporary outdoor stage under a tent, is located next to an al fresco bar that will remain open for the duration of the festival. Inside the building, in what may have once been a storage space for salami and other meats, the industrial looking Shop stage was created. Meanwhile, an old section of the dining room, in front of a colossal fireplace, will be a meeting point for some of the Fringe Training Factory events, which are classes that include Intro to Beatboxing, SpeedTease: Burlesque in a Nutshell and The Messy Art of Grand Guignol Stage Violence.

All theater-goers have to buy a Fringe Festival button to enter any performance, which is a one-time $5 fee, unless of course you lose it. The button is also good for discounts at local restaurants including the D.C. location of La Tasca and Marrakesh.

The schedule for the festival has revealed some promising (if strange) titles that have helped me form my initial must-see list, including "Dr. Serenity Hawkfire's Beyond Being Workshop," which parodies new age workshops; "Dorks on the Loose: It I Awkward" and "Power House: The Disco Energy Dance Along Show." Let me know in the comments which shows you look forward to seeing.

-- Stephanie

By Stephanie Merry  | July 2, 2008; 3:35 PM ET
Categories:  Theater  
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I want to see "Hancock".

Posted by: REM | July 3, 2008 7:35 AM | Report abuse

I'll be in an obscure Victorian operetta, "Cox and Box". While not nearly as scandalous as the titles sounds, it's a fun hour of scheming and misunderstanding that will speak to the concerns of DC apartment renters everywhere.

Posted by: Clyde | July 4, 2008 12:11 AM | Report abuse

I think the "Dorks on the Loose" sounds interesting. I'm not much into Theatre but I Dorks probably fits my personality. Which show are you looking forward to MISS GURU????

Posted by: B.R.O. | July 7, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to revise my last comments which were not proof read very well.

I think the "Dorks on the Loose" sounds interesting. I'm not much into Theatre but I believe "Dorks" probably fits my personality. Which show are you looking forward to Miss Guru???

Posted by: B.R.O. | July 8, 2008 7:01 AM | Report abuse

I suggest you check out The Sticking Place. This is the second original play by a young local writer and director. His play last year won the Best Comedy award at the fringe festival...was, to say the least, interesting.

Posted by: Ken | July 10, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Why, Stephanie, you wise 'old soul'! I'm delighted you consider my Beyond Being Workshop part of your must see list ... Frankly, if it's a choice between, say, having your financial chi adjusted and seeing yet another Hollywood car chase, who wouldn't choose prosperity. (Those who attend my workshop WILL be changed on a cellular level!)

Greetings from the yurt ... and may I note your karma just got a serious shot of mojo!

Dr. Serenity Hawkfire
'Dr. Serenity Hawkfire's Beyond Being Workshop'

Posted by: Dr. Serenity Hawkfire | July 14, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Diamond Dead! Diamond Dead! Diamond Dead!

It's a phenom fun show because the band blows the place up with the power of their rock!

And, the songs are by the guy who wrote Rocky Horror, and the book is by the legendary George A. Romero.

Fringe has got nothing like Diamond Dead--the first show was so good, I gotta go back for more!

Posted by: Steverino | July 17, 2008 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Agreed! Diamond Dead at Warehouse is a buried gem at fringe. It was the unexpected highlight of my first weekend! Whether or not you can stand the whole goth zombie thing, the band is impressive by any standards. The lead singer is creepy magnetic, they needed him for Lestat on Broadway. The lead female has a soulful old-skool rock voice that you must hear to believe: she alone is worth the ticket price and then some. Yes some girls still do know how to rock, MTV! I can not tell you who anyone was because there was no program. I bet they planned it that way. It's a one-night-stand you may not tell anyone about but you'll never forget. The show is tacky fun, perfect for fringe.

Posted by: Sheila S. | July 17, 2008 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Diamond Dead:

Male Lead - Andrew Baughman
Female lead - Rachel Warren
Puppet Zombie: Josh Speerstra

ThatLs the cast overlap that I'm familar with from the original run. Other cast off the top of my head includes Ally Jenkins and Matt Baughman. I know I'm leaving people out that i know perfectly well, but I'm backstage at another show now. More info at

Posted by: karina | July 18, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Josh Speerstra is not the puppet zombie anymore.. He's much much prettier now...

Posted by: Zombie | July 19, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

OMG! Glitter!!!?? LMAO!!!!

Posted by: karina | July 19, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

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