Encore Michigan

Grand Rapids’ 6th Lake Effect Fringe Festival opens February 1

Preview January 27, 2018 Encore Staff

GRAND RAPIDS—The Lake Effect Fringe Festival brings its 6th season of new theater to West Michigan all through the month of February. The Lake Effect Fringe Festival seeks to highlight performer-focused theater in a non-traditional theater space, creating an intimate performance experience for audiences who can expect different seating configurations and differing levels of interaction with the performers at any given performance.

On Thursday, February 1, 2018 at 8:00 pm the Festival opens with a performance by No Outlet Improv. Troupe members Nick Milbratz, Kristen Hirtsch, Sean Francis, Eirann Betka, and T.J. Corbett bring short-form, fast-paced, interactive fun to audiences of all ages.  No Outlet is a Grand Rapids original entertainment group that is working throughout West Michigan to promote and perform improvisational theater.

This year’s full schedule includes:

Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company – February 2, 3 at 8:00 pm and February 4 at 3:00 pm: The Knight of the Burning Pestle, by Francis Beaumont; this play within a play is a 1607 burlesque of citizen drama and chivalric romance.  This play by one of Shakespeare’s contemporaries blurs the boundaries between audience and actors with absurd comedy.

The Brutal Sea – February 8 and 9 at 8:00 pm and February 11 at 3:00 pm: Chaos & Entropy, by local playwrights Kimmy Snyder and Declan Maher;  a multidisciplinary collage, involving short plays, sketch and improv comedy, performance art, video content, and poetry. This piece offers the audience a space for emotional exploration, catharsis, laughter, and expressions of hope and forgiveness.  It contains strong language and is not suitable for children.

Dog Story Theater – February 10 at 8:00 pm: 24 Hour Theatre. Local playwrights, directors and actors will work all day and present their completely original works to the audience at 8:00 pm. One performance only.

GEM Theatrics – February 16 and 17 at 8:00 pm and February 18 at 3:00 pm: 2 Across: A Comedy of Crosswords and Romance, by Jerry Mayer. Two strangers, a man and a woman, board a San Francisco BART train at 4:30 am. They’re alone in the car, each is married, and both are doing the New York Times crossword. She’s organized and sensible. He’s a free spirit. She is a crossword pro, he always quits.

10 Minute Play Festival – February 22 and 23 at 8:00 pm: 

Titles of plays TBA. Local directors and local actors will take on scripts submitted by local playwrights for an evening of 10 Minute Plays produced by Hole in the Wall Theatre Company.

Hole in the Wall Theatre Company – February 24 at 8:00 pm and February 25 at 3:00 pm: T. J. Corbett leads Grand Rapids’ only Commedia Dell’Arte troupe in the original comedy, Yes, We’re Closed. A shopkeeper is suddenly locked out of his store, with the precious money he owes to a vicious loan shark locked inside…the neighborhood gets pulled into the madness, as desperate measures, scandalous revelations, and questionable prescriptions run wild in the streets!

Alternative Acts Theatre Company – February 24 at 3:00 pm: I’m So… is a theatrical exploration of the stigmas and societal noise surrounding mental health issues.]

No Outlet Improv – March 1, 8:00 pm: No Outlet Improv returns with one more evening of interactive improv.

The University Wits – March 2 and 3 at 8:00 pm and March 4 at 3:00 pm: The Last Five Years; a musical by Jason Robert Brown, directed by J.J. Lindke and starring Emily Diener and Steffan Copenhaver.
The story explores a five-year relationship between Jamie Wellerstein, a rising novelist, and Cathy Hiatt, a struggling actress. The show uses a form of storytelling in which Cathy’s story is told in reverse chronological order (beginning the show at the end of the marriage), and Jamie’s is told in chronological order (starting just after the couple have first met). The characters do not directly interact except for a wedding song in the middle as their timelines intersect.

All performances take place in the black box performance space of the Dog Story Theater. Tickets for all events can be purchased in advance on the Dog Story Theatre’s website: www.dogstorytheater.com, and are $14/adults and $8/students and seniors.

Week of 11/27/2023

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