Edinburgh Festival Fringe began last Friday (Aug. 2), with CalArts well-represented in the world’s largest arts festival. Performances of Michael Yichao Wang’s (Theater MFA 13) Goose, John Michael Johnson’s (Theater MFA 15) Mask, and Caitlin Teeley (Theater BFA 13), Kat Ortiz (Theater BFA 13) and Kaiso Hill’s (Theater BFA 14) play Whispering in the Dark are all presented at Venue 13, a stage for new writing that is jointly run by the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in collaboration with CalArts.
Goose, which earned Wang a Paul Stephen Lim Asian-American Playwriting Award earlier this year, is about a boy turning 13—but no one shows up to his birthday party. Left alone, he travels through time, space and his memories. Goose features lighting design by Zachary Moore (Theater BFA 12), costume design by Lena Sands (Theater MFA 15), video and set design by Suhyun Cho (Theater MFA 15), choreography by Sarah Shoemaker (Theater MFA 14), and sound design by Yoon Lee (Music MFA 11). Rachel Park (Theater MFA 14) directs the production, which includes puppetry, movement and multimedia elements.
Johnson exposes the fragility of intimacy in the multimedia theatrical performance Mask. The character Fred learns about his wife Annie’s infidelity just hours after discovering that he can remove his face. He and Annie reveal layer after layer of intimacy in this “tight, vicious and violent” production. Mask is directed by Allison M. Keating (Theater MFA 14) with Rachel Cox (Theater BFA 16) as assistant director. It stars Ernie Long (Theater BFA 14) and Sandy Simona.
Whispering in the Dark turns a macabre historical anecdote into the subject of a fantastical one-act play. On June 22, 1954, Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme bludgeoned Pauline’s mother, Honorah Repier, to death so they could run away together. The trial that followed—sensationalized because of the girls’ ages and presumed lesbian relationship and insanity—led to the girls’ imprisonment and ultimate estrangement. Whispering in the Dark picks up in the afterlife, where Parker and Hulme meet for the first time since committing their crime.
Above, we posted the trailer for Whispering in the Dark.
CalArts is in a 10-season collaboration with Venue 13 to bring a wider representation of California theater to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. This year’s CalArts contingent includes: Ian Garrett (Theater MFA 08) as producer, Julianne Figueroa (Theater MFA 13) as production stage manager, Veronica Mullens (Theater BFA 15) as sound designer, and Corey Rogers (Theater BFA 14) as stage manager. CalArts Head of Sound Design Jon Gottlieb once again serves as the director of the CalArts Festival Theater Edinburgh Program.
In addition to the School of Theater presence at the festival, CalArts archivist Kathy Carbone is in Edinburgh for a collaborative project with Library Studies graduate students from the University of Maryland. As it follows the three CalArts productions from pre-production to strike, the group is documenting the experiences of the artists within the immersive festival environment.
The Maryland students are capturing the CalArts performances and related media through their blog Follow the Fringe: Documentation and Preservation of Cultural Movements in Media and through Twitter. Follow the hashtag #mlsfringe for updates in real time.