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Fringe of Marin Fall 2011: Program One

November 11, 2011

When Fringe of Marin opened November 4 with a well-rounded Program One of seven one-act offerings from local and international playwrights, it was hard for me to believe it was opening night. Every performance shone with a high polish, to the point where, as a jury member, I could not settle on which was “best.” They all were.

The program opener “Who is Who” was a fast-paced whodunnit with rapid-fire repartee by the ensemble cast leading to a hilarious twist ending. “Louisville” paired the very talented actors Conrad Cady and Rick Roitinger in a hit-man-for-hire noir piece. “Why We Travel” brought back the magic of Michael Belitsos to energize a thought-provoking monologue with some incredible illusions. The fourth play brought back Rick Roitinger again as TV “Psychic” whose powers become greater than he can control.

“Stay with Me” lets us look in on the drama of a suicide hotline call, powerfully acted by Lonnie Haley and Tyler Costin, deftly directed by Tracy Ward. “It Don’t Have to Hurt,” a simply told monologue that explores the contexts of domestic abuse without melodrama. The evening’s closer, “Can One Make Love Wrapped Up in the French Flacg,” a witty sex farce written with a continental flair and a performed with flash of skin.

Something for everyone—belly laughs, drama, tragedy unfolding before your eyes, surprises at every turn, well-written, directed and performed. Go see the Fringe, you can’t go wrong. And this was only Program One! For schedule of performances remaining (the Fall 2011 Fringe ends November 19) call 415-673-3131 or visit http://www.fringeofmarin.com.

P.S. Rick Roitinger gets an honorable mention for “best trouper.” In a tense moment of “Louisville” he stabs a knife into the table prop. The knife was a real knife, and he cut his hand pretty badly. As became apparent to both of us a little later in the scene, when he placed his bloody hand on the table. He quickly hid the carnage, and kept it out of view for the balance of the play, and never missed a beat. Near the finale, when the characters were to shake hands, he seamlessly found a gesture of cameraderie that did not involve the use of that hand. When he took the stage as “The Psychic” it had been bandaged. No word was ever said about it, and only the sharp-eyed were aware of the mishap. And the props manager, who found the blood-drops. What a trouper!

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