Next week thousands of theater patrons will once again descend on Lower Manhattan for the 19th annual NYC Fringe Festival. “Fringe theater” usually denotes plays located on the edge of something (the mainstream, the city, a performer’s sanity). With 200 shows on offer, several seem to occupy the fringe between high culture and low, floating somewhere between stage, screen and page. These nine offer you the chance to Kill Dunham, Channel Spock and “Van Gogh Fuck Yourself.”
1. Dog Day Afternoon
The Flamboyan Theatre at the Clemente, 107 Suffolk Street, Lower Eat Side Aug 20-30
Appropriately staged in the full heat of summer, “Stockholm Savings” takes audiences right back to that sweaty afternoon’s botched bank robbery. Stockholm Savings, in tackling “police brutality, LGBT rights, racism, and social media,” may not feature a Pacino, but in it’s “immersive reimagining” has more than enough plot elements to keep you glued to your seat.
The Lynn Redgrave Theatre, 45 Bleeker Street, SoHo Aug 16-23
If sitting through the final season of Dexter wasn’t torture enough, imagine all eight seasons crammed into a two-hour musical. Presenting “DEX! A Killer Musical, The unauthorized parody of DEXTER,” adapted by Joe Schermann from a book by Erika Jenko. In this sort of art imitating life, imitating art Mobius script, an actor plays the actor Michael C. Hall acting out scenes to the Dexter finale as chaos of meta-proportions ensues.
3. David Foster Wallace
The White Box at 440 Studios, 329 Broome St, SoHo, Aug 16 – 26
In the wake of the latest wave of David Foster Wallace fever comes “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again,” adapted from DFW’s essay of the same name. The show sees DFW, played by Christopher Duva, aboard an “insanity-producing pampering” cruise as he navigates the social awkwardness that comes with being luxuriously trapped among strangers at sea. For the die-hard skeptics among you, it’s worth noting the show has been produced with permission from the late author’s literary trust.
4. American Psycho
The Steve & Marie Sgorous Theatre, 115 Macdougal Street, Greenwich Village Aug 16 – 29
“The American Play” is a feminist take on American Psycho and an “in-depth look at modern masculinity, entitlement and false idol worship.” Think Patrick Bateman turned Patrick Hate-men.
Under St Marks, 94 St Marks Pl, East Village Aug 17 – 29
This absurdist “game-changing parody” of the viral podcast substitutes the inmate Jay Adnan for Matthew McConaughey. If that’s not enough to go on, there’s also a sub-plot involving ham and likely a liberal use of sunny chords peppered throughout the show.
6. Dr. Spock
The Celebration Whimsy, 21 Clinton St, Lower East Side Aug 15 – 27
At some point in “Baby Hubris,” an “overworked single mom takes Dr. Spock’s ghost as her personal guru.” According to writer Jacqui Rêgo, the play takes on “dating in NYC, a backlash against hipster hook-up culture, and confronts in tender expletives (not an oxymoron I promise) double standards of female sexuality.” Read more about it here.
7. Vincent Van Gogh
Venue #12, 64E4 Underground, East Village Aug 24 – 30
“Van Gogh Fuck Yourself” promises a lot. Specifically from it’s description, “the truth behind Vincent, the ear, his death, and his sacrifice for humanity’s sake.” Working in the play’s favor (beyond a convincingly ginger-looking Walter Michael DeForest playing Van Gogh) is a script adapted from letters exchanged between Vincent and his brother Theo and the Memoirs of Vincent’s stay in Auvers-sur-Oise by Adeline Ravoux.
8. Lena Dunham
Teatro LATEA at the Clemente, 107 Suffolk Street, Lower Eat Side AUG 15 – 30
“I Want to Kill Lena Dunham” is most probably a prescriptive title for what’s contained within this show’s subject matter. In other words: Brooklyn, gentrification and hipster scorn.
9. CNN, Boondocks, Yo Yo Ma and Jay Z
The Flamboyan Theatre at the Clemente, 107 Suffolk Street, Lower Eat Side Aug 19 – 26
It’s hard to say what precisely “Funnel Cake Flowers & The Urban Chamelons” will look like. From the description, it seems to involve a satirical attempt to “decode people of color who flip from watching CNN and Boondocks, listening to Yo Yo Ma and Jay Z, eating fried chicken and sushi, shopping at Target and Gucci.” There’ll be multimedia and live performance – probably something along the lines of the video below.
Correction: The original version of this post was revised because it misidentified a character in “Baby Hubris” as the ghost of Spock from Star Treck rather than that of child-care expert Dr. Spock.