Spring 2012 Fringe of Marin--Program Two

Thanks to the imagination and leadership of Dr. Annette Lust, the Fringe of Marin is in its 29th season!  Program Two opened Saturday, April 14 with 8 new plays and solos. The festival begins with "Getting the Message" and ends up with "Wallis and Finnie in Cloud Cuckooland!" 

Talented playwright Rod McFadden wrote "Getting the Message," directed by award-winning Director Carol Eggers.  In Getting the Message, a wife, Christine Melocik, teaches her husband award-winning actor, Rick Roitinger a lesson in how to play "Charades" so he can impress his boss and then she leaves him.  

This was followed by "There Are No Elephants at Costco" written and directed by Michael Ferguson. This is a child's dream about her stuffed animals which are delightfully played by Maureen Coyne as Lucky, the Mouse, Bill Chessman as Trunk, the Elephant and Velvet Harlow as Nibbles, the Rabbit.  This play would be perfect for child audiences.  

Steve North was up third in a solo performance of "The Albatross" replacing Linda Ayres-Frederick in "Cantata #40." Steve North is a great stand-up comedian with outstanding stage presence in his take on The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

The last play before intermission is "Identity Theft" written and directed by William O. Chessman III.  A man by the name of John (Ken Sollazzo) and a man named Jack (George Doerr) claim to have the same wife Jane (Anne Collins) and the same life.  This is quite an interesting idea.  The dialog of the Cop played by C. Conrad Cady was a lot of fun. However, the play was a bit repetitive with an unresolved ending.  

The second half of the program opened with "Point of View" written and directed by Suzanne Birrell. This play was based on Rashoman in which each character sees the same event in a different way.  Lauren (Trungta Kae Kositchaimongkol) thinks of Andrew as a real gentlemen while Clarice (Crystal Nezgoda) is defending Andrew who is her brother as playing the field, and Sarah (Lauren Arrow) who has broken up with Andrew, thinks of him as Shakespeare's Sir Andrew Aguecheek.  This is such a clever idea and the actresses pull it off by big contrasts.  

"Hitting the High Note" written and performed by Valentina Osinski and directed by Lauren Lundgren was a high point of the entire festival. This is a monologue about a singer who wants to be a rock star.  The performer is a beautiful woman with excellent energy, wonderful facial expressions and great stage presence. To accompany her performance, she illustrates it with clever cartoons on an easel.  Her timing was right on target!

This was followed by "A Pantry Tale: How the Onion Was Nearly Scorched" written by Dr. Annette Lust and directed by Suzanne Birrell.  In this charming tale, we learn the genesis of French Onion Soup. This is another charming story for children especially. Birrell does double duty as both cook and narrator with clever performances by Trungta Kae Kositchaimongkol as the Garlic, Crystal Nezgoda as a beautiful Carrot and Lauren Arrow as the Onion.  The blocking and movement of the actors was done with a great deal of wonderful pantomime.

The final production of the evening was "Wallis and Finnie in Cloud Cuckooland" written by Gaetana Caldwell-Smith and directed by Eileen Tull.  In this play, an upper class couple played by Steve North and Annette Oliveira lose their domestic help.  These two talented actors play off each other very well in their desperate plight.

A memorable outcome of the Fringe of Marin is to discover fresh voices, and to bring in the community to participate either as an actor or as a spectator.  

Program Two continues Friday, April 20 and 27 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 21 at 2 p.m. with one final performance, Sunday, April 29 at 2 p.m.

All performances take place at Meadowlands Assembly Hall, Dominican University, 50 Acacia (at Grand), San Rafael. For reservations and information, call 415-673-3131.

Flora Lynn Isaacson