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All words: Rachel Eisley, Logan , + Svetlana — All photos: Stephanie Breijo

Escape the heat by sampling the District’s own Capital Fringe Festival, the only major unjuried, self-producing, open access performing arts festival in the area, going on through the end of July.  In its 7th year, Capital Fringe is focused on the whole spectrum of the performing arts, and is uncensored, original, rapid-fire and easy to participate in – shows typically last 60 minutes with ticket prices low for audiences, and production fees low for artists. Capital Fringe has become the 2nd largest, unjuried Fringe Fest in the US and has premiered over 250 new works, in addition to working with over 100 under-served DC area youth. In 2011 alone, Capital Fringe sold 28,000 tickets to 715 performances of 137 productions, featuring over 3,000 artists at 12 venues located in the Mt. Vernon, Chinatown and Penn Quarter neighborhoods.

Ticket info: Every attendee must wear a Fringe Admission Button, available for $5 (before July 12) and $7 (after July 12) (If you lose it, you’ll have to buy another! So don’t lose it.)  Single show tickets are $17, (plus the button.)  Multi-show passes are as follows (all include the button) and tickets may be used by 1 person sequentially or by a group of people at one (or more) shows.

  • Foh-ty Pass: $60 for 4 tickets (you save: $15)
  • 6 Pack Pass: $80 for 6 tickets (you save: $31)
  • 110 Proof Pass: $120 for 10 tickets (you save: $57)
  • Magic Pass: $220 for 20 tickets (you save: $127)
  • All-Access Pass: $300 for 1 advance or door ticket to any and all shows.  See 20 shows and it pays for itself, see more and you start saving!

So now that you know what Capital Fringe is all about, your friendly BYT theater buffs have distilled this year’s myriad offerings in the ultimate Capital Fringe Cheat Sheet.  Discover which shows are unmissable along with the what, where, when and why info for each of our top picks.  You can also search for shows by their title, keyword or theme (including age appropriateness, and venue accessibility) here.


Rachel’s picks:

What: A surrealist rock opera written, conceived by, directed and starred in by local 16-year-old performer Jace Casey, featuring an all-star cast of professional teen actors
Where: First Congregational UCC (Sanctuary Hall) @ 945 G St. NW DC
When: Saturdays: July 14 (8:00 pm), 21st (4:00 and 7:00 pm), 28th (4:00 and 7:00 pm)
Why: Experience a whirlwind of thought-provoking entertainment complete with 9 dance numbers, a live band and narration fusing pop, rock and classical music.  Mindset follows a young artist through innocence, confusion, the fear of failure, and finally, self-liberation.

What: Former Nazi Adolf Eichmann is detained in a secret prison and interrogated about his role in the death camp deportations of millions during WW2.
Where: DCAC @ 2438 18th St. NW DC
When: July 12th – 29th, Thursdays – Sundays at 7:30 pm
Why: Inspired by transcripts from the Israeli Police archives, this dark and compelling drama explores the brutal machinations of the Final Solution, starring charismatic front-men James Radack and Kim Curtis.

What: Rockwell’s Universal SeXbots follows Louis Rockell Jr. as he attempts to implement a new business plan for his father’s stodgy robot company.  First problem: robot sex is illegal!
Where: Warehouse Theater @ 645 New York Ave NW DC
When: July 13th (8:15 pm), 14th (11:30 pm), 24th (6:00 pm), 28th (5:30 pm), 29th (2:00 pm)

Why: Illegal Robot sex?  Need I say more! But seriously, a shorter version premiered at the Hope Operas last year and it was both hilarious and sexy.

What: Landless Theater Company‘s Fringe contribution
Where: Fort Fringe – Baldacchino Gypsy Tent Bar @ 607 NY Ave NW DC.
When: Jul 13th (8:15 pm), 15th (2:45 pm), 17th (7:00 pm),  21st (1:15 pm), 26th (5:45 pm), 28th (7:15 pm)
Why: According to the highly creative and amusing folks at Landless, President Warren G. Harding was a hard-living, hard–loving rock star.  See if they’re right! (They usually are.)


What: WILD NIGHT is the newest by the lovely Tilted Torch gals. A normal evening takes a crazy turn. What happens next? You decide! Do you hide or run for your life? There will be danger and consequences, maybe even death. Come be the author of your own sensational burlesque escapade!
Where: Warehouse Theater @ 645 New York Ave NW DC
When: July 12th (10:30 pm), 15th (7:00 pm), 19th (10:30 pm), 21st (11:59 pm), 29th (6:30 pm)
Why: These ladies are hot. And they will not only be taking off their clothes while you watch, but will be performing feats of epic proportions simultaneously! (How much can YOU multitask while unhooking a bra…)

What:  We are incessant. Unrelenting. We withstand without withholding. It surges forth and, in a rush, changes. Settles. But only for a moment. Only this once.
Where: Caos on F @ 923 F St NW DC
When: July 12th (6:30 pm), 15th (4:00 pm), 18th (8:30 pm), Jul 21st (2:00 pm), Jul 28th (7:15 pm)
Why: Experimental Performance Art. Two woman show.  Should be awesome!

What:  Facing for the first time the world of dating, love, life and independence following a decade of married life, Laurel is the quirky, cool, together girl you always thought you wanted to be –– until you read her blog!
Where:  GALA Hispanic Theatre @ 3333 14th St NW DC
When: July 14th (1:30 pm), 19th (10:15 pm), 21st (7:00 pm), 24th (9:45 pm), 28th (6:00 pm)
Why: One woman show!

What: An expressionist drama about play, a playful clowning interlude, and a happening disguised as a thriller!
Where: The Shop at Fort Fringe @ 607 New York Ave NW DC
When: July 15th (8:45 pm), 21st (2:30 pm), 27th (6:00 pm)
Why:  Rated “the Fringiest Show at the Fringe” by DC Theater Scene in 2011!


Logan’s picks:

What: The mysterious Miss Hiccup lives alone, but is definitely not lonely. She is forever accompanied by a raucous cast of sounds and music that make her life an absurd adventure.
Where: Mount Vernon United Methodist Church @ 900 Massachusetts Ave NW
When: Jul 12th (6:30 PM) Jul 14th (1:30 PM) Jul 15th (8:00 PM) Jul 17th (8:15 PM) Jul 19th (6:00 PM) Jul 21st (7:00 PM)
Why:  It won ‘Best of Fest’ at Winnipeg Fringe 2010, and sounds like it had potential to be a whimsical delight

What: A satirical tour of DC, past, present and future as seen from inside a trash truck. The upside, downside and underside of Washington life with music and some unique characters including Michaele Salahi and the homeless mayor of Massachusetts Avenue.
Where: Fort Fringe – Bedroom @ 610 L St NW DC
When: Jul 12th (8:45 PM) Jul 14th (1:45 PM) Jul 22nd (4:00 PM) Jul 22nd (10:00 PM) Jul 28th (11:00 PM)
Why:  The idea that the commentary is made from inside a trash truck makes me think the potshots, snark, and wacky wit on display will make this one memorable.

What: Tiny puppets made of vegetables and stereo parts make their film debut- live onstage. Witness the spectacle of Planet Egg: crash-landings, cultural misunderstandings, murder, romance, forgiveness and revenge. Performed and filmed live with a full score of Foley. Silent performance/movie.
Where: Jul 18th (6:00 PM) Jul 19th (6:00 PM) Jul 20th (8:00 PM) Jul 21st (5:30 PM) Jul 26th (10:15 PM) Jul 28th (10:00 PM) Jul 29th (4:30 PM)
When: Warehouse Theater @ 645 New York Ave NW DC
Why: Nothing really set me off about this one until I found out it was a silent performance. With so much whirlwind description going on in the plot summary, the restraint to put this on as dialog-less sounds fascinating.

What: A Kate Winslet obsession launches one man into playing all the parts, including the iceberg, of the blockbuster movie. Witness his untold journey, over–athletic imagination and devastation with intangible love. Put your lifevest on. You might get wet.
Where: Mount Vernon United Methodist Church @ 900 Massachusetts Ave NW
When: Jul 20th (8:30 PM) Jul 21st (5:00 PM) Jul 25th (6:30 PM) Jul 26th (8:00 PM) Jul 27th (10:30 PM) Jul 29th (2:45 PM)
Why:  It’s a one man play of Titanic. I mean, c’mon, whatever selling point do you need besides that potent insanity?


Svetlana’s Picks:

What:  A young man covets his asexual tattoo artist in this noirish reimagining of the Ganymede myth, in which Zeus takes the form of an eagle and abducts the boy, the most beautiful of mortals, to be his lover
Where: Gear Box
When: Jul 13th 8:00 PM, Jul 15th 5:00 PM, Jul 18th 7:30 PM, Jul 19th 9:30 PM, Jul 20th 10:00 PM, Jul 21st 8:00 PM, Jul 21st 11:59 PM, Jul 22nd 5:00 PM, Jul 25th 9:30 PM, Jul 26th 7:30 PM, Jul 27th 6:00 PM, Jul 27th 10:00 PM, Jul 28th 3:00 PM, Jul 28th 10:00 PM, Jul 29th 1:00 PM, Jul 29th 6:00 PM
Why: This is kind of the textbook drama to immerse yourself into Fringe with: “erotic noir” contains nudity, profanity, a name with a pun in it (which blessedly implies the team behind the show still maintained a sense of humor about it) + anything that has more than 5 showings during this week is obviously getting buzz a-plenty.

What:  A raw and intimate look inside the mind of the poetically chaotic and often controversial rap legend. This explosive one-man performance depicts the late rapper as a modern day Shakespearean, tragic figure.
Where: Fort Fringe – Bedroom
When: Jul 13th 9:45 PM, Jul 15th 1:45 PM, Jul 19th 7:00 PM, Jul 21st 4:00 PM, Jul 25th 7:00 PM, Jul 29th 6:30 PM
Why: You are a BYT reader. You’re going to Fringe. There is a drama about Tupac playing. Are you really trying to tell me you don’t want to see this?

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What:  Amid the devastation of the apocalypse, survivors are having a little trouble letting go… Day spa, anyone? As self-obsessed as ever, the new world’s an inventive culture of denial — and mutant cockroaches. With cameos by Jesus and Superman.
Where: Goethe Institut – Gallery
When: Jul 19th 6:30 PM, Jul 21st 12:30 PM, Jul 22nd 5:15 PM, Jul 26th 9:00 PM, Jul 28th 8:00 PM
Why:  Sure the post-apocalyptic scenario has been used seemingly a lot this year in DC theatres (and frankly, Mr. Burns did such a good job of it, we almost don’t need another) but, what is a Fringe fest without some well placed absurdist comedy in it?

What:  TRUE STORY: How far can $10 take you? Join the inspiring journey of an unemployed DC man who spent a year giving away $10 a day, uniting 365 strangers, sharing their stories and changing lives.
Where: Goethe Institut – Gallery
When: Jul 14th 6:15 PM, Jul 17th 9:00 PM, Jul 20th 7:00 PM, Jul 22nd 3:00 PM, Jul 28th 6:00 PM

+ YOU KNOW-SO MANY MORE PLAYS. let us know what you’re excited to see in the comments.