In Pilsen since its local debut in 2010, the Chicago Fringe Festival moves this year to Jefferson Park, where it spreads its odd eclecticism over 11 days (everybody takes 9/3 and 9/4 off, though) and half a dozen venues. Opening-night festivities include one-minute previews of what’s ahead, plus a dance party, and various auxiliary events (like karaoke!) are scattered throughout the week. Here’s a selection of performances that piqued our interest; see chicagofringe.org for schedule and location information.
Among the locals: Fringe stalwart Rebecca Kling presents Get Ready for the Vagina Fairy, a comic piece about life as a transgender woman. Mary-Arrchie veteran Karl Potthoff stars in Adam Seidel’s Harold After, which follows a lawyer’s internal journey after he murders his wife of 30 years—over a cancelled dinner reservation. In experimental collective Abraham Werewolf’s Your Move, a board game played by a group of friends could determine the course of their lives. And Jonathan Baude’s Men and Dogs delves into the motives behind anarchist Leon Czolgosz’s decision to assassinate President William McKinley in 1901.
And now for the visitors: Austrian company Daniel Wolfsbauer Productions presents Surviving Love, which follows a gay youth on his journey from Vienna, Illinois, to Vienna, Austria, at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. Valerie Hager’s solo show Naked in Alaska chronicles her ten-year career as an exotic dancer in Mexico, Alaska, and California. New York-based Theater in Asylum brings to town ¡Olé!, about the romance between Salvador Dalí and Federico Garcia Lorca. And San Franciscan Silvio Menendez performs Entiende? (“Do You Understand?”), which explores the quest of Silvio, a Spanish interpreter at a large hospital, to figure himself out.