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Fringe festival takes campus by storm

Views 40 | Time to read: 3 minutes | Uploaded: 4 - 24 - 2018 | By: Carolyn Deal

As the dust settles from the flurry of Fringe festivities, some people may be left wondering “how did they pull this off?” There was no sleight of hand, no tomfoolery, just very talented college students with highly-caffeinated, late-night time on their hands.

In actuality, the Fringe process started months ago, with students writing scripts and sending them in to possibly be approved. Evelyn Thoen, a first-year student who wrote Adeline, said that “Fringe has been a whirlwind; it’s crazy to think back when my piece Adeline was just a vague idea in my head! The most difficult part of the process was thinking through my idea and developing it into a clear narrative within the structure of a short play.”

After the writers got the big thumbs up, the craziness began. Writers were paired with directors, who do their best to ensure that the writer’s vision will be achieved. Some writers chose to direct their own pieces, but most found a friend or talented stranger to direct instead. A few pieces that appear at Fringe are a part of the Hive, a process in which Masters degree student playwrights from several universities are paired with current Westmont student directors to put on their pieces.

Casting is another dynamic part of Fringe. Some directors know exactly who to ask to play what parts in their pieces, while others go to open casting and choose from the masses. At open casting, the prospective actors met and were asked to do a variety of warm-up exercises, including walking in different styles or tempos, and “selling” a prop to the directors. Once the Hunger-Games-esque competition ended, a few days later the directors let the actors know who was cast in what. After some tears from those either rejected or double-cast, the fun part began. REHEARSALS!

From Saturday morning to midnight, directors managed to squeeze in rehearsals at the most creative of times. It was the directors’ responsibilities to make sure the pieces were in tip-top shape before Fringe weekend. First-year Anastasia Heaton directed Adeline, acted in In a Different Version, Someone Tells Orestes, and was stage manager for Blood Brother.

Regarding Adeline, Heaton responded that “Directing a piece, especially as a freshman, proved challenging, but it was also a more rewarding experience than many of the other faculties I’ve been a part of in theater. Working with the cast of Adeline was a joy. Seeing our creative vision come to life in the performers’ expressions and the audience’s laughter really embodied the spirit of the Fringe festival for me.”

After a long series of run-throughs, tech, and dress rehearsals, Fringe weekend was finally here! Each play had two showings over the four-day weekend, with several being featured in the Black Box and Porter theater. The fun didn’t stop there, though. Several pieces took place off-campus at Alhecama Theater, one was in the dance studio, and a few were scattered across lawns all over campus. One play even had the audience travel from location to location as the plot progressed!

And now we are here. Fringe is over (for this year at least). The post-Fringe rush is dying down, but the memories still remain.


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