Life on the Fringes

Life on the Fringes

Bridget Sheppard

Each year in Edinburgh, Scotland, the entire city erupts in the celebration of the Fringe Festi­val, which consists of performances of thousands of plays for several consecutive weeks. This year, Colgate had its own version of the festival, hav­ing seven brief plays all performed in one night. The idea for the event originated in sophomore Coco Vonnegut’s experience participating in the Scottish Fringe Festival in 2007; when the time came to brainstorm new events for Masque and Triangle’s Student Theater Department, Von­negut and Masque and Triangle President senior Lauren Harries decided to create their very own version of the festival, scaling it down to merely one venue and one night, but, as Vonnegut said, “the same spirit of the Fringe was upheld.”

After the audition week, the cast and their directors and student managers – all students – rehearsed three times a week, adding on more practices each week that the final performance drew nearer. On March 4, that night arrived at last. With the play “Beer Girl,” starring sophomore Lindsay Martin, first-year Stephen Day and sophomore Leah McKnight and di­rected by first-year Sydney Pollock, the festival opened with a comic piece concerning a col­lege fraternity brother who falls in love with a girl made entirely out of beer cans.

The pieces that followed were “Creation,” a post-apocalyptic tale of two men restarting civili­zation on Mars, which sophomore Xavia Weaver both wrote and directed, and director first-year Jake Sapon’s “Cinnamon Rainbow” a play that focused on the bizarre role reversal that occurs when the woman whom a thief intends to be his victim ends up holding him at gun point instead.

In “The Problem,” first-year Pablo Sasso and sophomore Coco Vonnegut brought more laughs for the audience as they acted out a mar­ried couple’s odd nighttime routine in which they each fabricate elaborate tales about see­ing other people. The light comedy continued with director sophomore Nadya Greenberg’s “The Chocolate Affair,” which centered on an amusing Mr. Goodbar – played by sophomore Corin Kikhabwala – consoling and guiding a mother through her chocolate craving with the assistance of a Green M & M.

With the following performance, “Tape,” however, the evening briefly showed the darker side of theater, as the audience witnessed first-year Rodney Agnant, first-year Becca Atkinson, and junior Bryan Rasbury debating whether or not a rape had been committed.

The night concluded climactically with di­rector first-year Jessica Hall’s “‘Dentity Crisis,” a bewildering yet extremely humorous play about a young girl struggling with her own identity and with the constantly changing identities of all of those around her, including her therapist, who switches bodies with his wife. The crowd enjoyed watching Udbhav Joshi transform from son to father to grandfather and even to a French man who is a friend of the mother in the play, as well as watching junior Alex Magnaud, first-year Benn Ayd, first-year Meagan Adams and first-year Anne Miettinen in their roles.

When creating the Fringe, Masque and Tri­angle aimed to provide an opportunity for new directors and stage managers to challenge them­selves and to demonstrate the essential role that the directors and stage managers have in the success of a production. The stage managers, first-year Ally Macey and first-year Mary Rose Devine, illustrated their abilities throughout the plays, as did all of the directors.

Vonnegut, who besides acting in one of the performances co-produced the event with Hal­ley Goldman, said that the best part for her was opening night. Besides the rush of being on stage, she said, “It was so exciting to see all of our hard work with the Festival as a whole paying off” and to see the Fringe attract such a large audience.

By producing, casting, directing, managing and acting in all of these plays performed in one marathon event of theater, the students in the Fringe Festival displayed how capable they are of creating drama pieces that entertain us, amuse us and confuse us, but that most of all engage us.