It started as a folk arts festival in Scotland in 1947, and since has become a worldwide phenomenon. From Edinburgh to Sydney, San Francisco, New York City and now Maui, fringe festivals across the globe provide a platform for actors, musicians, comedians, playwrights and directors to perform their theatrical experiments.
"The word implies 'on the edge,' and that is a fringe festival in a nutshell," said Maui Fringe Festival Director Michael Pullium. "Think beyond off-Broadway."
Well-known, up-and-coming, and unheard-of, artists of all kinds get the chance to put on a show.
"When unknowns say, to hell with it, I'm putting on my show my way, their lives can change," Pulliam said. "We get to watch that."
The Maui Fringe Festival is a three-day marathon of short plays, monologues, comedy acts and musical performances featuring some of Maui's best hidden talent.
'Gotta Live' by Andrea Giammattei
A performance of songs and stories about the risky business of really living - and the heart and humor it takes to pull it off. Inspiring, funny, and true to life, this show celebrates the human spirit and the courage to take chances. Partly inspired by her decision to move to Maui in 2004, Giammattei first produced "Gotta Live" in New York City in 2003 at "Don't Tell Mama," directed by Michael Shiralli. She teams up with two talented Maui musicians; Sarah Oppenheim-Beggs, mezzo-soprano, music director and voice teacher; and Angie Carr, pianist, vocalist and composer.
'Inside Stretched Out' by Pat Masumoto
The audience gets in on the action in this quirky play-within-a-play, filled with comedic satire and romantic songs. The inside story begins with action-filled rehearsals of a sexy, bold play about how one man's violence unravels the lives of three friends. It climaxes in a boisterous operatic finale and a surprising revelation by what appears to be God himself . . . or an alien? "Inside Stretched Out" is directed by Derek Nakagawa, celebrated actor, director, spoken-word poet, singer/songwriter and producer of the annual play reading, "My Mama Monologues." The show stars Joel Agnew, Jett Batoon, Will Makozak, Pat Masumoto, Derek Nakagawa, Michelle Nakagawa, Jason Sadang and Virginia Sandell.
'Last Questions' by Marilynn Hirashima
Four sisters attending their father's funeral each take a moment between the memorial service and the burial to reflect on their relationship with him. Directed by Carol Summers, the show stars Joel Agnew, Rochell Dunning, Marilynn Hirashima, Barbara Sedano and Carolyn Wright.
'No Intention of Doing Either' by Sharyn Stone
A theatrical memoir about getting older, growing wiser, and finding the humor in one's own life, "No Intention of Doing Either" is the story of a woman getting to know herself. "Everywhere I go, I watch people's faces, and wonder . . . what's your story?" wrote Stone. "We all have stories to tell that are unique. This is some of mine. What's yours?" Stone grew up in Australia and has been a "theatrical" ever since she was able to memorize Hamlet's soliloquy. After moving to Maui in 1992, she took a 20-year vacation from theater to battle Maui County for the permits to open her own bed and breakfast in Huelo. She finally found the time to write down her story when she was forced to close down her bed and breakfast for a year. "No Intention of Doing Either" features Sharyn Stone and Frank Kane.
'The Trojans' by Lee Brady
"The Trojans" reunites two World War II veterans, Mel and Charlie. Charlie saved Mel's life, and Mel repaid the favor by stealing Charlie's wife. Forty years later they meet again with unexpected results. Performed at the BOA Festival of One Acts in San Francisco, and as part of "Brady's Shorts" at the Cherry Center for the Arts in Carmel, Calif., in 2009, "The Trojans" was written by San Francisco playwright, actor, teacher and critic Lee Brady. The show stars Charlie Dungans and Dennis McIntyre.
Solo Showcase featuring Curtis "Chino" LaForge
Curtis "Chino" LaForge is an acclaimed Maui stand-up comedian. As the opener for the Maui Celebrity Series, he has opened for Paul Rodriguez, Tom Arnold, Roseanne Barr and many more. Recently back from his tour in Hollywood, he is ready to hit the stage for Maui audiences.
The Comedy Hui
The Comedy Hui features fast, fun, character-based comedy that is a roller-coaster ride of giggles. Similar to the TV show "Whose Line Is It Anyway?," their live performances have the cast creating 90 minutes of excitement that keeps audience members on the edge of their seats wondering, "How the heck do they do that?!" Playing synchronistically with audience participation and a live band, while offering plenty of games and song-and-dance numbers, The Comedy Hui is silliness to the extreme.
Excerpts from 'Couples'
"The Matterhorn" and "So tell me about this guy . . ." are comedy vignettes from "Couples," a Valentine's Day ONO production at the Historic Iao Theater, directed by Lee Garrow. "The Matterhorn," starring Robyn Grahn and Eric Molina, finds a bickering married couple waiting in line at Disneyland, debating divorce while trying to keep control over their unruly children. "So tell me about this guy . . .", starring Robyn Grahn and Sharleen Lagatutta, is a short conversation between two women examining their sex lives, gossiping and occasionally shocking each other and the audience.
"Shake Your Body": This annual Judy Ridolfino production features over 120 happy dancers with smiling faces and a multitude of talent, who will be moving in "Shake Your Body From Head to Toe." The dancers range from age 3 to seasoned citizens, and they will be tapping and jazzing to songs with body parts in the title like "Hips Don't Lie," "I Wanna Hold Your Hand," "Happy Feet," "Ain't That a Kick in the Head" - and check out who's got the cutest little "Baby Face" in this two-hour dance revue.
"Shake Your Body" takes the Maui Arts & Cultural Center Castle Theater stage for one performance only at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5. Tickets are $14 for adults, $10 for seniors, students and kids 6 to 12 years old, and free for kids 5 and younger. Applicable fees are added to the price of tickets, available at the MACC box office, 242-7469 or www.mauiarts.org.
"Theophilus North" auditions: MAPA is holding auditions for the upcoming production of "Theophilus North," a charming, witty and intelligent play by Matthew Burnett based on the novel by Thornton Wilder. Directed by David C. Johnston, the cast includes a minimum of four men and three women (ages 20s to 60s) playing over 20 characters. Actors will play multiple roles. The show performs weekends April 1 to 17 at Steppingstone Playhouse. Auditioners should prepare two contrasting monologues (one to two minutes each) or read from the script.
Auditions are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Steppingstone Playhouse in Queen Ka'ahumanu Center. To check out a copy of the script in advance, call the MAPA office at 244-8760. To schedule an audition appointment, email Mark Collmer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ProArts spring season auditions
ProArts Inc. is holding open auditions for its upcoming season of shows at the ProArts Playhouse in Kihei. The shows include "Rats!" "The Pied Piper Musical," "Snow White and the 3 Dwarves" and "Driving Miss Daisy."
The season will open in March, and run through May. The order of the shows is dependent on casting. Auditions are for singers, actors and dancers ages 14 and up. Bring a current resume and headshot and prepare a two-minute vocal selection, preferably an uptempo tune from a Broadway show. Bring sheet music for the provided accompanist. Auditionees for "Driving Miss Daisy" will be asked to read from the script, which will be available at audition time. A stipend is paid to all participants.
Auditions are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the ProArts Playhouse at Azeka Shopping Center. Call 463-6520 for an audition appointment or more information.
Imago Theater's "ZooZoo": Filling the stage with wit, wonder, acrobatics and mime through characters such as a giant dinosaur, hungry anteaters, hitch-hiking rabbits, tricky penguins and growly polar bears, ZooZoo features the best of Imago's acclaimed productions "FROGZ" and "Biglittlethingscharacters." Imago has been hailed by critics and family audiences worldwide for its highly entertaining, wordless productions, inspiring joy for kids and parents alike. No translation needed, Imago speaks the universal language of fun.
"ZooZoo" takes the stage at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 10 at the MACC's Castle Theater. Tickets are $12, $28 and $38, plus applicable fees, available as above.
"Mary Poppins": Alexander Academy of Performing Arts presents a delightful dance production of the beloved children's classic "Mary Poppins." Choreographed by Hallie Armato, Aly Cardinalli, Ashiya Corder, Cristin Ertel and Danelle Watson, the show features beginning through advanced Alexander Academy dancers.
"Mary Poppins" comes to life at 2 and 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13 at Maui Theatre in Lahaina. Tickets are $25 and $15 for VIP and $20 and $10 for premium. Call 661-9913 for tickets or call 878-8970 or visit www.alexanderacademy.info for information.