The Chicago Fringe Festival’s second year | Performing Arts Sidebar | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Performing Arts Sidebar

The Chicago Fringe Festival’s second year


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


People are always doing awesome, out-there stuff with puppets at fringe festivals—my first fringe experience involved tiny ninjas acting out Hamlet. Among the 47 entries in this year's Chicago Fringe Festival is an Avenue Q-style staging of George Romero's zombie classic, Night of the Living Dead, by Milwaukee's Angry Young Men Ltd. (Sun 9/4, 7 PM, Mon 9/5, 10 PM, Sat 9/10, 8:30 PM, Meridian Stage, 1932 S. Halsted). Chicago's own Suitcase Shakespeare Company mixes puppetry, masque, and stage combat in Othello's Furies (Sun 9/4, 10 PM, Sat 9/10, 7 PM, Sun 9/11, 8:30 PM, Meridian Stage).

Another genre where it helps to be out there is one-person shows, and the 2011 CFF has plenty of those. 'Rie Shontel's Mama Juggs focuses on breasts, from bra stuffing and "titty milk" to cancer (Thu 9/1, 7 PM, Sun 9/4, 2:30 PM, Mon 9/5, 10 PM, Fri 9/9, 8:30 PM, Sat 9/10, 5:30 PM, Dream Theatre, 556 W. 18th). Robin Gelfenbien details an unusual cross-country trip in My Salvation Has a First Name: A Wienermobile Journey (Sat 9/3, 7 PM, Sun 9/4, 10 PM, Mon 9/5, 8:30 PM, Sat 9/10, 4 PM, Sun 9/11, 5:30 PM, Dream Theatre). And Minnesota's Maximum Verbosity—which touts its "rants that get raves"—offers Camelot Is Crumbling: An Arthurian Nightmare (Thu 9/1, 8:30 PM, Sat 9/3, 5:30 PM, Mon 9/5, 7 PM, Sat 9/10, 2:30 PM, Sun 9/11, 4 PM, Doppler Stage, 1915 S. Halsted). Two transgender solo artists to look out for are New York's Roman Rimer, performing Evolution, the tale of his death-defying sojourn in the American south (Sat 9/3, 5:30 PM, Thu 9/8, 8:30 PM, Sun 9/11, 7 PM, HumanThread, 645 W. 18th) and Chicago's Rebecca Kling, presenting No Gender Left Behind, about the experience of getting "fired from a teaching position for being a transgender woman" (Thu 9/1, 7 PM, Sat 9/3, 4 PM, Mon 9/5, 10 PM, Sat 9/10, 2:30 PM, Sun 9/11, 5:30 PM, HumanThread). For a larger ensemble there's MelnColly Theatre Company's "lingerie party murder mystery," Nearly Naked (Thu 9/1, 10 PM, Sat 9/3, 4 PM, Mon 9/5, 2:30 PM, Fri 9/9, 7 PM, Sat 9/10, 8:30 PM, Dream Theatre).

The CFF's nerve center, Festival Central (2003 S. Halsted), offers food and drink for sale, video games, and an afterparty notice board. It's also the venue for a special League of Chicago Theatres Theater Thursday performance by Rebecca Kling (9/8, 6:15 PM, $25) and for several free events, including the festival's opening (9/1, 6 PM) and closing (9/11, 9:30 PM), daily coffees (9/1-9/11, 1 PM), and a 9/11 observance (9/11, 11 AM-1:30 PM).

Opens Thu 9/1. Through 9/11: Thu-Fri, 7, 8:30, and 10 PM, Sat-Sun and Mon 9/5, 2:30, 4, 5:30, 7, 8:30, and 10 PM, no 10 PM shows Sun 9/11. Various locations, 773-428-9977,, $5 festival button required for admittance to shows. Single tickets $10, five-show package $45, ten-show package $80, unlimited admittance $175.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Give $35/month →  
  Give $10/month →  
  Give  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment