Fringe festival takes Erie

On March 10, classes resume, we’re 10 days closer to spring and the Schuster Theatre begins its annual Mini Fringe Festival.

Made up of eight plays, one concert and one choral piece, the festival has scattered performances at different places, just like the original festival in Scotland.

Six student productions and three associated productions will extend to March 30.

“We brought the energy and excitement back after our first Fringe Festival experience, and used it to put on our own here,” Jax Kubiak, technical director of the Schuster Theatre, said.

“Fringe in Scotland is really a celebration of all artists, and we’re bringing [some of that] back to Erie.”

Sarah Sgro, student director for Barry Hall’s “A Trois,” said the best thing about Fringe is that it gives students an opportunity to do works that never could be produced on a larger scale.

“Everything is based around smaller casts and has a subject matter that might not be feasible as a mainstage production,” Sgro said.

Sgro’s production includes a three-person cast and an exploration of relationships.  Barry Hall looks at every stage from the “Honeymoon stage” to a breakup. The actors portray different people in different settings, flowing from one to the next without real distinction.

She said the hardest part about directing for Fringe is the time limit.  There isn’t the standard eight-week rehearsal that most Schuster shows get; there’s only about five weeks.

The other hard things Sgro faced as director was directing friends.

“You want them to succeed with the piece so that definitely involves giving necessary criticism, but at the same time these are people who you love and respect,” Sgro said. “It’s hard to balance being a good friend and a good director sometimes.”

“A Trois” will show at 8 p.m. March 20-21 in the Schuster Theatre.  Other student-associated productions include “Women Without Skin,” “Inside the Actor’s Studio: Transitions and Cultural Stereotypes of Post 9-11 America,” “Scooter Thomas Makes it to the Top of the World” and “The Termination.”

“Women Without Skin” is an exploration of how women see themselves, performed and directed by Natalie Pertz and Paula Barrett.  It will be performed at 8 p.m. March 10-11 in the Schuster Theatre’s Green Room.

“Inside the Actor’s Studio…” borrows a panel discussion format and includes Gannon students from the Middle East.  Led by Rob Lopez and a panel composed of Maitham Nuri, Zamin Nuri and Hiba Almasri, the board will focus particularly on the stereotypes these students faced while studying in America.  It will premiere at 8 p.m. March 12 in Zurn 104.

“Scooter Thomas Makes it to the Top of the World” is a fun production about two boys and their brotherhood when one boy faces tragedy.  Directed by Joshua Mizikowski, it will be performed in Morosky’s café at 2 p.m. on March 15 and at 8 p.m. March 16.

“The Termination,” directed by Conor Grey, is a melodrama comedy about futuristic America and its overpopulation problem.  People may file to be terminated as part of a government program and “The Termination” shows what happens when one woman does.  It will show at 8 p.m. March 18-19 in Waldron 219.

“The Good Doctor” will return as an alumni show at 8 p.m, March 15 and at 2 p.m. March 16 in the Schuster Theatre.   “Love Actually Isn’t,” a new drama, will be read at the Dramashop theatre at 8 p.m. on March 18,19, 25 and 26. “Let’s Murder Marsha,” a murder mystery comedy, will play at All An Act on March 21-23 and 28-30.

Musical performances include “The Music Man in Concert,” a collaborated effort with Cathedral Prep.  It will premiere at 7:30 p.m. March 14 at Cathedral Prep High School. “Calling all Dawns,” a musical cycle with 12 languages, will be performed at Mary, Seat of Wisdom Chapel at 8 p.m. on March 28 and at 2 p.m. March 30.

With so many different shows at different places, students can pick the best one and take some of Fringe’s energy with them to tackle the rest of the semester.  Tickets for the student associated productions start at $5.



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