‘Fringe’ benefits: Theater fest edges into Brooklyn

First supper: The play “Almelan,” playing in October as part of FringeBKLYN, deals with the people who created the first rituals of the Christian church.
Rebecca Comtois

The Fringe Festival is coming to Brooklyn — sort of!

The 20-year-old New York International Fringe Festival, an annual proving ground for fledgling and experimental theater shows, will expand into Kings County for the first time next month. FringeBKLYN will be a sort of older sibling to the Manhattan festival shows — a showcase for artists who have already performed at Fringe, and for established independent venues, according to the artistic director of the month-long extravaganza.

“We discovered that indie artists and alumni wanted access to our marketing but didn’t need our hands-on producing, like the emerging artists supported via FringeNYC do,” said Elena K. Holy.

One of those Fringe alumni said that he jumped at the chance to team up with the festival again.

“The Fringe Festival, over the years, has been the most supportive organization that we’ve ever worked with,” said playwright Sean Williams, who has previously produced the plays “Fleet Week,” “Hail Satan!,” and “Viral” with the arts festival.

His latest production, “Almelem,” opening on Oct. 13 at the Brick in Williamsburg, is a “Biblical backstager,” about a group of Christians in the first century A.D. as they compose the Gospels and develop church services — much like actors and producers put together a stage show, Williams noted.

More important than marketing, said Williams, are the bonds created by working side-by-side with other Fringe theater companies.

“The actual real benefit is that we get to part of a larger community,” he said. “We’re all emotionally invested in each other’s success.”

The Brick will also host a second Fringe play, running on Halloween only: “Donald Trump Dies at the End,” a $45 “theatrical experience” with a strict black-tie dress code.

Six other Brooklyn shows are part of the Fringe. Two of them are pre-existing shows: The Shakespearean riff “Makbet,” performed in a shipping container, and “Salome,” a new translation of the Oscar Wilde play, now running at the Irondale Theater. Two more shows will take place at Brooklyn Arts Exchange in Park Slope: “Situations,” a one-man play by Robert Green that includes poetry and beatboxing; and “CrowPlay,” which combines murder ballads, scraps of Edgar Allen Poe, and Irish mythology into a ritualistic drama.

The remaining two shows have no physical theater at all. For “Dishwasher,” performer Brian Feldman will travel to your home, wash your dishes, and then perform a monologue of your choice, all for a $100 ticket price.

Finally, “Spare Some Change,” from This Is Not A Theatre Company, is not a live performance at all — instead, it is an audio recording, designed to be played while riding the L train between Eighth Avenue in Manhattan and Broadway Junction on the edge of Bushwick.

“Almelem” at the Brick (575 Metropolitan Ave. between Union and Lorimer streets in Williamsburg, (718) 907–6189, www.bricktheater.com). Oct. 13–27; Thu–Sat at 7 pm; Sun at 2 pm. $20. Other FringeBKLYN shows at various places and times in October: visit www.fringenyc.org/fringebkln.

Reach arts editor Bill Roundy at broundy@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–4507.
The thinker: Robert Greene’s one-man show “Situations” plays at Brooklyn Arts Exchange as part of the Fringe fest.
Vanessa Lenz

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