The underground is about to rise up.
No, we’re not talking about Underground Atlanta making an eleventh-hour comeback. We mean the Atlanta Fringe Festival, the annual gathering of, as its informative Tumblr site (atlantafringe.tumblr.com) proudly claims, “weird, bizarre, underground, awesome theatre.”
Actually the third edition, presenting 20 productions from 11 states and Canada from June 5-8 at 7 Stages and other Little Five Points sites, is quite a bit broader than that self-description might suggest.
This year’s fest will embrace everything from circus to cabaret, tap to spoken word and Middle Eastern dance to puppetry, plus a lot of performances that require a lot of hyphens. For instance: S’Park Theatre of Birmingham, Alabama, which will perform its shadow-puppetry-mask-making-animation-and-pantomime troupe show “Amelia the Brave” without any dialogue.
Many of the performances are works very much in progress, such as “Hours of the Darkest Night” by the Atlanta troupe Sith Penguin. The show is described as a multisensory experience that responds to the enforced cheeriness of the holiday season and features musicians and ground and aerial circus arts performers. “Hours” will be a 30-minute preview of a full-evening show planned for December, and both sound plenty fluid at this juncture.
“While we have a strong overarching vision for what we would like to see in December, at this stage, our team is still coming together to share ideas and figure out how we want to work together,” producer-performer Abby Joslin acknowledged. “We have a core group with creative veto power, but this is very much a collaborative work. … The overall show will be cohesive, but this is not the time or the place for micromanaging.”
Also, Fringe Audio, in collaboration with the Hear Now Festival of Kansas City, Missouri, and Atlanta Radio Theatre Company, is offering 23 radio plays from across the country streaming for free through June 8 at atlantafringe.org/home/fringe-audio-2014.