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San Diego Fringe Provides Sensory Overload

Innovative Theater Festival Expands In Second Year

Patrick Kelly and Michael Nieto star in

Credit: Beth Accomando

Above: Patrick Kelly and Michael Nieto star in "Doctor Schmoctor," a mash up of Moliere, at San Diego Fringe.

KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando provides a preview of the 2014 San Diego Fringe.

Transcript

San Diego’s Fringe Festival has kicked off its second season with hundreds of performers from San Diego and abroad providing an intense innovative theater experience.

Taking its cue from the more than half-century-old Edinburgh Festival Fringe, San Diego Fringe assaults the senses with a wildly diverse array of work ranging from drama and comedy to magic, stand-up, music, dance, and clowning. This year, San Diego Fringe expands to 80 shows across 11 days, and each for $10 or less. Katherine Haroff, of Circle Circle dot dot, was associate director last year but is taking this year off from official duties to just perform.

"The fun thing about a Fringe Fest is that it’s a little lower stakes for artists to invest in," Haroff said. "They make it accessible in a financial way so a lot of artists can take risks. And Fringe is named exactly for the art. It’s on the cusp, it’s on the outside, it’s fringey. It’s a little dirtier, it’s a little more raw. Some of it is a lot more risqué.

"I think what’s really exciting is that we get to see fellow artists in San Diego step out of their comfort zones and try new things. And we also get to be exposed to really fabulous international artists that have chosen the San Diego Fringe Fest as a place to produce their work."

Actor Michael Nieto caused a sensation last year in "Ubu Roi" and this year returns in The Max Fischer Players' production of "Doctor Schmoctor," something of a mash up (or perhaps smash up is a better description) of Moliere's plays.

"I saw a group from Wales that looks fantastic, some ladies from the UK that look terrific, and about half of the artists are local. It’s like San Diego craft beer, it’s San Diego craft theater," Nieto said. "This is where art is born. It’s where creative theater is born. It’s a low-risk, high-fun, high-energy environment where artists and audiences are free to explore and try new things."

San Diego Fringe began Thursday and continues through July 13 at venues ranging from Raw Space at the Spreckels Theater to the San Diego Central Library to Les Girls.

The website is not the most user friendly, but you can find a list of the shows here. And I highly recommend the Fringe Tag with the multi-pass package.

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