The New York International Fringe Festival is underway, and as we have reported, two North Texas shows are there. One is Lisa's Dalton's one-woman performance of the Chekhov short story The Darling; and the other is Cody Lucas' play Happily Ever After, performed by Denton's Sundown Collaborative Theatre.
We asked the Sundown group to give us reports from the festival. The first entry, from Tashina Richardson, is here. Below is the second one, from Travis Stuebing.
Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2011, 2 p.m., Rockefeller Plaza
— by Travis Stuebing
I've managed to find a comfortable bench in Rockefeller Plaza, where I switch between smoking a cigarette and taking swigs of Starbucks (how original). The plaza is ripe with the hustle and bustle that New York is famous for, with tourists snapping photos while city natives trek to wherever the city natives go. I look up at 30 Rock; the building is much more impressive in person than the title cards from the show of the same name suggests. This building houses NBC and its various studios, one of America's longest running comedy staples. Saturday Night Live is shot here, as well as various news broadcasts, talk shows and as mentioned earlier, Tina Fey's comedy 30 Rock. The sheer amount of planning that goes into each of these shows is impressive, and just being outside of the place where all of this happens is rewarding in its own right. We've been here a week and this is the second time I've come to this place. There are many places around the city that speak volumes about all of the work that goes into various venues: theaters, comedy clubs, galleries, etc. For me, I take comfort here.
Last night, our show Happily Ever After opened. Just two days ago, 11 of us were crammed into a small dance studio off of Times Square for what would be our last rehearsal. Something for us that has always been challenging has been our rehearsal spaces. At this point we've rehearsed all over: a garage, a performance space in Denton, our performance venue here in New York and, finally, this dance studio. While it can be challenging bouncing from space to space, it has always helped our flexibility as a troupe. This was no different and we were definitely up to the task. It was a stop and start run-through and served as a final opportunity to get the show on its feet before the big day. It went smoothly. Afterwards, while we all were nervous, we were optimistic because we'd been working through this process for four months and were excited to show this city just how hard we had worked. We ached for NYC to see what Denton, Texas, had to offer.
Opening night was certainly a trip. Our show was at 10 p.m. (9 p.m. central time) at the Clemente Solo Velez Cultural Center (CSV) in venue No. 2, the Flamboyan. The fun thing about our experience here is that each of us is staying somewhere different. From Queens to Times Square, Brooklyn to Uptown, we're all spread out. Even more interesting is due to a 15 minute set-up limit for our show, all of us get into make-up and costume in our prospective residences and make the trek in groups to our venue. Our costume and make-up designs are by no means conservative. One of our cast mates dons a 12-foot blonde wig. I conjure a dark Charlie Chaplin look, complete with questionable mustache. So one can imagine our trips to the venue encounter some odd looks (although New Yorkers are probably used to that).
One pedestrian shouted "Oh shit! A clown!" But hey, we survived.
It's hard to give a strong perspective on how the show itself panned out, but we had a modest audience, a third of which was press. Everything ran smoothly, we did it. Last night, we celebrated. Today we have the day off. We're relaxing while we can (our second show is Wednesday). A review was published an hour ago and it was highly positive. Granted it is a singular opinion, but along with our first audience's positive response it is already more than we had hoped for.
We come from all walks of life and just the opportunity to do this here is a huge blessing. I (along with the cast and crew) would like to say "thank you" to everyone who helped this dream become a reality.
◊ Look for more entries from the Sundowners in the coming week. Also, check out the FringeNYC reviews from Curtain Up, which has one of Dalton's show. Hopefully they'll make it to Sundown's.