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Saturday, First Full Fringe Day

Carrie Villeneuve

First show of the day starts at 11 a.m. and the last starts at 11 p.m. Timed right, a Fringer can see 10 shows today*. The average show is an hour, with the shortest show time at 20 minutes--that would be Wagabondi Ho! in the van beside Performance Works--and a few come in at 75 minutes, the maximum show length. Venue size starts to become an issue today as word gets around, especially at the BYOVs--Wagabondi Ho! seats 4, TAPE at the Waldorf seats 18, the Havana Theatre seats 60.

Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, at Pacific Theatre, is based on the question, "What happens when the Peanuts gang gets to high school?" Answer, "Sex, drugs, and Chopin." The surprisingly sharp script expects the audience to already know--and somewhat love--these characters, and creates a heartbreaking vision of their teenage years. The obvious youth of the actors worried me a bit, a first thought was "good grief, a student project" but they were all solid, and although maybe not quite emotionally present, the characters became real teenagers, without being, um, cartoonish. There was even a moment when I was genuinely afraid of Pigpen. (Ya, Pigpen--you gotta see what they do to him.)

The show also mildly asks (I would like to say 'heartily tackles') some big questions, like where do we go when we die?, and hints at big topics, like homosexuality/homophobia. The show reminded me that I haven't yet seea fringe festival. One preview at the Gala was of murder, hope: a performer in a Batman costume played "The Rainbow Connection" on a saw. That just might be the weird and wacky idea I'm looking for.

Three other shows, in order of viewing:

Shotgun, also at Pacific Theatre: four people in a carpool. Ho hum. No story, no character to root for, and too many set changes. Best posters at the Fringe though.

Drinks with Friends, at Carousel Theatre, a BYOV. A young woman talks to a fern like it's a man who's cheated on her best friend, a potted rose, and she has sex with a rock. I picked it out of the schedule for its weird idea, but it didn't keep my attention after the first 10 minutes.

The Cockwhisperer: A Love Story, at Performance Works: Sounds titillating and uses some naughty language, but doesn't go too far beyond that. Pretty funny though.



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