Get Your Fringe On

For those willing to take a chance on very fresh theatre, consider the Fringe Festival.  Often odd, occasionally brilliant, and usually interesting, the San Francisco Fringe Festival runs September 8 through 23 this year.  Now celebrating its 26th season, the San Francisco Fringe Festival presents a bold line-up of eclectic theatrical offerings for adventurous and open-minded audiences of all persuasions.  Often over-the-top and under-the-radar of traditional theatre-going fare, the Fringe champions the motto No Risk, No Art and has its rabid devotees and wins more fans every year. Most performances run under one hour and it all takes place under one roof, allowing audiences to go from venue to venue, seeing as many shows as possible in a single day.

Based on my perusal of the press releases I received for many of this year’s shows, here is a selection of a few offerings that seem particularly intriguing to me:

Why Would I Mispronounce My Own Name?  

Irma Herrera

Irma Herrera

written and performed by SF Civil Rights Lawyer Irma Herrera

When Irma, an attorney, returns from lunch to her 25th floor financial district law firm, Shelley, the receptionist, hands her two pink message slips. ”Ear-ma can I ask you a favor? When your friends call the office tell them to say their names in English.” One message is from a client, the other, Susana, Irma’s best friend. Irma counts to three and takes a deep breath and privately recites the Serenity Prayer. Where the hell does she start this conversation?

Why Would I Mispronounce My Own Name? is one woman’s journey from a small segregated South Texas town to California’s multicultural mecca. What part of Irma’s identity is she asked to give up for the sake of fitting in and getting along? How can a simple introduction turn into a potential battle to be heard and seen? Weaving history and comedic insights into stories about names, this solo performer invites us to consider how open and welcoming we really are.

Show times:  Sat  9/9 –  4pm; Tu  9/12  -  8:30pm; Th 9/14 – 7pm  and Sun 9/17 – 7pm

by seven playwrights   Other Voices in partnership with the Playwrights Center
Swampland-squaregraphic-061417Donald Trump said he’d “#Drain the Swamp.” In a game changing presidency, we find ourselves wondering if it’s a swamp or America itself that’s being drained. In $WAMPLAND, seven award-winning Bay Area playwrights (Patrick M Brennan, Bill Hyatt, Susan Jackson, Charley Lerrigo, Lorraine Midanik, Madeline Puccioni and L. Zephyr) present their visions of what “making America great” really means.

Show times:  Sun 9/10 – 8:30pm; Fri 9/15 – 8:30 pm; Sat 9/16 4:00pm; and Wed 9/20 8:30 pm


HOW NOT TO DIE, a solo show about our obsession with safety in an uncertain worldhow-not-to-die_34544476160_o

Atomic bombs! Terrorists! Lone shooters! Viruses! Threats are everywhere!  HOW NOT TO DIE is a dark comedy about living in constant crisis. Armed with crazy – and not so crazy – safety tips, Sherri Rose bravely and humorously explores our fears in a time-jumping, multi-character solo show. Personal and political, the show has never been more relevant as it examines how we balance staying alive and truly living! Based on interviews and personal accounts from 1944 to 2017.

Show times:  Sun 9/10 – 7pm; Th 9/14 – 7pm; Sat 9/16 2:30pm; and Sat 9/23 – 5:30 pm


Reclaiming Vietnam, a solo performance by Kim Chinh

reclaiming vietnam

Growing up in a bi-racial home with a white mother and a Vietnamese father, Kim spent years wishing away her father’s less-than-desirable immigrant status and skin color and all the painful family secrets she inherited. Determined to face her demons, she joins a volunteer organization in Vietnam. As she begins to discover the beauty of her roots, she confronts the trauma of her past to put its secrets behind her forever.

Show times:  Fri 9/8 – 8:30 pm; Sun 9/10 – 5:30 pm; Sat 9/16 – 6pm; and Sun 9/17 – 7pm

The 2017 San Francisco Fringe Festival runs September 8 through 23, with performances all days except Mondays, and brings 30 unique productions to San Francisco’s EXIT Theatreplex located at 156 Eddy Street in the Tenderloin. For complete listings of shows and curtain times, patrons can visit or call the Fringe Hotline at (415) 673-3847.  Tickets are $12 (at the door, cash only) or less per show, with a ten-show Frequent Fringer pass available at $85 and a five-show pass available at $45. Advanced ticket sales are available through the Fringe website:

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