As I was reviewing the lineup in this year’s IndyFringe Festival I noticed there are 3 shows in which art is a primary theme. In a field of 64 different productions, that’s not terribly shocking. I was surprised, though, to note that the 3 shows have back-to-back performances on Sunday, August 17.
This came up when I was talking to festival organizers, and apparently this synchronicity was not by design. Kind of strange and cool, and what it means is you can roll up on Mass Ave on Sunday afternoon, park your car, and see 3 diverse productions on the nature of art and artists on 3 different stages within a 3 minute walk.
Here’s a few words from each director about their respective shows:
Portraits Like American Gothic
3pm at Theater on the Square Stage II
From director Casey Ross: “Portraits” is a sequel to the first Fringe play I had ever written, “Gallery.” The central characters, Jackson and Frank, represent the two conflicting ideologies of art: passion and technique. Jackson throws caution to the wind and pays no mind to the rules, whereas Frank finds it very difficult to stray from them. They are both toxic and inseparable, like the ideologies they represent. For this play to have drama or humor, I need both characters, and for an art piece to work you need an equal marriage of technique and passion. In “Portraits” Jackson’s passion has started to wain, and it is when the marriage becomes imbalanced that we see the crumbling of their “composition.” I wanted to prove that technique and passion can not be art without each other. Oh, yeah, and the show is a comedy.
4:30pm at Theater on the Square Mainstage
From director Amy Hayes: Ever since I was a little girl I’ve had a visceral response to certain works of visual art: I want to move to it. Which doesn’t make a lot of sense, because it’s not rhythm or music or any of the things that normally make me want to move. I am a dancer, though, and I guess I tend to respond to spiritually or emotionally moving things physically. When I was in grad school, I spent a lot of time in the sculpture garden and the art gallery, and I started to imagine paintings and sculptures with their own soundtrack, and then I imagined people moving in ways that the art made me want to move, and so I created ART. I loved exploring how different individuals respond to the same work of art, and so we’ve weaved two paintings (Klimt’s “The Kiss” and Munch’s “The Scream”) in and out of all the “group paintings.” I wanted to say something about allowing art to affect you, personally, spiritually, physically. I wanted to see what manifests when we allow art to penetrate us.
Star Luck Cafe
6pm at Phoenix Basile Theatre
From director Patrick Becker: Star Luck Cafe was an intriguing project to me early on because the author uses poetry to engage in a debate about what art is and how it can affect us. The show also attempts to make a correlation between examining and understanding art and how similar it is to examining and understanding our fellow humans. When interacting with art (whether paintings, poetry, or plays) we all have an internal process that enables us to draw conclusions about the subject matter. It is during this process that we decide if we like it or don’t and why or why not. While it is often a subconscious effort, each individual will react to the same piece differently and for various reasons. That offers us the ability to have different opinions and still not have to be right or wrong. What I like most about art is that there is no wrong answer. There is just the art. I think we offer something unique in Star Luck Cafe because we integrate spoken and written word, music, and visual art into an interesting dialogue about art itself.