For all of you that don’t know, last night kicked off the inaugural Pittsburgh Fringe Festival and will continue through Sunday. This year’s festival features 22 shows by 22 different companies in five separate venues across Shadyside, all mostly off of Ellsworth Avenue. Although it’s almost impossible to see every show this weekend, you can certainly take in your fill of experimental theater.
This festival will bring Pittsburgh into a collection of cities like San Francisco and New York to bring new and experimental theater to life all together at the same time. However, since Pittsburgh is not equipped with multiple theater venues in such a close proximity our Fringe has looked to other spaces to bring together this extreme amount of theater. For example, last night I had the opportunity to see [best imitation] by the No Name Players. The show is a scaled down musical featuring a keyboard, ukulele, violin and guitar, but was presented in a classroom at the Winchester Thurston School. Maybe not the best place to do a musical, but the performance was extraordinary. The biggest take away should be to focus on content not venue. The shows The Pittsburgh Stage crew saw last night include 40 Minute Divorce, Women Say F*ck Too, The Accordion Monologues, and This Betrayal Will Be Our End.
Do you best to at least take in one show of the first ever Pittsburgh Fringe Festival running now through Sunday. All tickets are $12 plus the one-time fee of $3 for a festival button (Think of it as $15 for the first show and $12 for each show after, plus the button gets you in to certain events—for free—as well as other discounts). With the volume of shows the festival is doing, on such a tight schedule, make sure you get to each show 15 minutes early because there is no late seating.
The full schedule can be found on the Fringe’s website: pghfringe.org.