by Drea Figment,
James Carey, & Chris Davis
The Rogue Festival will be here soon, we are on the home stretch-it opens on March 1! Here we have 3 more Rogue Show Previews in this post, with several more coming this week. You will be able to find them all in our Arts & Entertainment section along with a guide to Rogue article that went up on Monday. We also have a Rogue Festival event page with many of their press releases, and an article about this year’s Muse. Once Rogue starts, you can come back here for Rogue show reviews and possibly some video interviews! Reviews will be going up during the weekend and throughout the next week.
Miss Fitts: Like Willy Wonka’s Surreal Seamstress Sister
by Drea Figment
When you boil the whole thing down, Miss Fitts is what’s in my head while at the sewing machine in the middle of the night: disaster is as impending as an epiphany, geometry goes on vacation, measurements melt into mysteries. I sew things not because I am good at it, nor because I ever took a class, but because I want impossible things that I can’t pay someone else to make for me. So, I am the hapless haphazard seamstress fabricating costumes and props, sewing things backwards and inside out with crooked lines—forever at the machine with one more zany idea.
Enter Sir Tinnly, an unsuspecting client who has come to the shop for some clothing. Instead, he ends up traveling down the rabbit hole with Miss Fitts on a surreal journey that no 21st century consumer in their right mind would ever endure.
Eric and I both train in circus arts, dance, theater, and comedy. We bring our full selves to the stage. In the US, performance is frequently very segmented: you are watching theater, or you are watching dance, or you are watching comedy. In other parts of the world, performance is often more genre-bending. Circus and theater can include dance and acrobatics, music and comedy. Everything is possible! With this lens, we devise our shows. How does dance, acrobatics, or juggling bubble up in the world we have created?
We wrote this show together over years, and it’s impossible anymore to say who invented what. Anytime something tickles us, we write it down—life is rich with material if you play! A subtle competition of who can make the other laugh constantly simmers between us. After we realized this would be a show centered around clothing, for six months we looked at the world, asking how we could play with fabric and clothing? Where do zippers belong? What if you had a whole closet full of living mannequins? How does a jacket jitterbug?
The show emerges on scrambled note cards on the floor and across countless script drafts. As we rehearse, we rewrite the entire show when we discover what is alive and most funny. Almost everything changes as we play with props and costumes. For us, though, nothing is real until we put it in front of people. That’s where the real work begins. We debuted this show in Nugget Fringe this January with much success (BEST of FRINGE two years in a row, and BEST for ALL AUDIENCES, and SOLD OUT). New jokes were born right in front of the audience through their generous participation with us. Still, after every performance, we reworked bits and tweaked our material. We know the same is going to happen here in Fresno. This is our third year at Rogue Festival and every year just gets better—we are so excited to bring a new show to our Fresno fans again!
Written by Drea Lusion, she plays Miss Fitts, in their eponymous new show, Miss Fitts. Figmentally is Eric Parthum and Drea Lusion. They devise, produce, craft, and perform everything you see on their stage. Hailing from Oakland (California) and the Lookout Arts Quarry (Washington), the duo are touring artists who uniquely blend new and old world vaudevillian antics with theater—building a new universe of laughter and magic for their audiences—using circus, dance, improv comedy, and physical theatre that entices audience participation and incites wonder.
Friday 3/1: 7 p.m.
Saturday 3/2: 3:30 p.m.
Sunday 3/3: 2 p.m.
Wednesday 3/6: 6 p.m.
Saturday 3/9: 9:30 p.m.
California Arts Academy – Severance Theater
1401 N. Wishon Avenue
$14 – available online: roguefestival.ticketleap.com/miss-fitts/dates
Learn more and follow Figmentally on Facebook (@Figmentally) and at www.figmentally.com for more creative content and previews. Miss Fitts is written for adults, but children enjoy it just as much! The duo openly extend hilarity and participation to ALL AGES and families.
Mi Casa Su Casa or How To Get 175 Roommates
(An Airbnb Host Tells All)
by James Carey
James Carey and his show Mi Casa Su Casa or How To Get 175 Roommates (An Airbnb Host Tells All), an award-winning comedic one-man show, will make its Rogue Festival debut at Fulton Street Art on Friday, March 1 at 9:15 p.m. with the following performances on Saturday, March 2 at 5:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 3 at 5:30 p.m. Fulton Street Art is located at 1118 N. Fulton Street in Fresno, California.
Written by James & Silvie J. Carey, and performed by James Carey, Mi Casa Su Casa is the true life, funny, yet human, story of how James ended up a successful AirBnB host in Los Angeles. As perfect strangers from all over the planet invade his house, James describes how to deal with people sharing your bathroom, the extremely odd requests that they make, and the very strange things they leave behind. This comedic one man show talks about the differences and the commonalities that we all share and that bind us together as humans, and the extraordinary changes that being a AirBnb host causes to your daily and personal life.
Mi Casa Su Casa, or How to Get 175 Roommates (An Airbnb Host Tells All) debuted at the San Diego Fringe Festival, won the Critics Choice Award at Portfringe Festival in Portland, Maine, in 2018, and shared the stage with Kirsten Vargsness of CBS’ Criminal Minds at Theatre of NOTE in Los Angeles in February 2019. After the Rogue Festival, it will continue to Atlanta Fringe in June and other places during summer 2019.
He met his wife Silvie, when she moved into his house as an AirBnb guest from Denmark and never left. She has been his partner for seven years (4-1/2 married) and seen most of the crazy things that have happened in the house. It was her idea to turn some of these stories into a show and a possible web series. She serves as co-producer on the show and tries to make every event. She works as an independent translator for film and TV doing subtitling in German, Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian languages.
James is a writer/director living in Los Angeles, where he ran the Attic Theatre from 1987 to 2012, and is now the Artistic Director of SkyPilot Theatre in LA. He has directed/produced/taught/performed in theatre and film all around the world including living and working with non-profit arts groups in Zimbabwe from 2012 to 2015. His latest film directing project is a short film called Fanny Meeting You Here about singer Rosemary Clooney, aunt of George Clooney, and is on the festival circuit right now. The producers are hoping to find financing to make a full-length independent film of the material.
Carey’s first one man show, Coming to Zimbabwe was an international success. The show debuted to sold out crowds and wonderful reviews at the Harare International Festival of the Arts in Harare, Zimbabwe, in 2013. The show then toured Malawi, South Africa, and back to Zimbabwe in 2014. It has also played in the United States at the Hollywood Fringe Festival (twice) in 2015 and 2016 and the Atlanta Fringe Festival.
Mi Casa Su Casa plays
Friday, March 1 at 9:15 p.m.
Saturday, March 2 at 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 3 at 5:30 p.m.
Fringe Life at Edinburgh and Beyond
by Chris Davis
For the past five years I’ve been performing in fringe festivals across the United States, and Europe. The culmination of all these experiences is what inspired me to write The Presented. Specifically I wrote it while performing in Edinburgh last year. Many people know the Edinburgh Fringe is the first fringe, and currently the largest English-speaking fringe in the world. What they may not realize is just how much money is behind many of the shows produced there.
The origin of the Edinburgh fringe tells a much different story than its current state. In fact the Edinburgh Fringe was supposed to be, for the most part, for theater with absolutely no money. It was created in response to the Edinburgh International Festival, which actually still takes place at the same time as the current Edinburgh Fringe, but most people just associate the two as one big festival. The idea was to produce works that the International Fringe would never look at, or produce themselves, and basically had no interest in. It was for the average unconnected/not rich person to get up and say hey, wait I wanna do a show, too. And then give it a shot. Thus the term ‘fringe’ (outside of the norm) was born.
I’ve performed in the Edinburgh fringe for the past five years and have learned a lot about my craft there as a performer and a producer. The highs and lows of doing a show in the biggest arts festival in the world can be very severe. One day you feel like you are top on the world, the next day you consider quitting.
The majority of shows that “make” it, or are “popular” in the Edinburgh Fringe, are often backed by arts organizations that sponsor the performers financially. I, however, perform in the free fringe, which basically means I am my own producer/performer/promoter, and I finance my travel with my own money. The tricky part is I compete against very large shows in the festival, while at the same time I don’t have access to the resources/publicists/money/marketing that they do. Sound familiar?
Rogue Festival is different in the sense it is non-juried, non-curated, so they can escape some of these trappings. But a lot of fringes out there aren’t, and the more money you throw at the show, generally, the more success you can buy. It’s a lot like life, in that as artists, we are often valued by how much money we can generate for ourselves. If we make lots, we’re considered successful and famous. If we don’t, we’re considered unsuccessful and amateurish. My show The Presented is about this very conundrum. Fortunately there are exceptions to this, I’ve seen a number of people become very successful almost entirely by themselves. But the odds are stacked against you.
My show wrestles with all of this. What does it mean to be “presented” and how can that change that art that is produced? What is life like for a “struggling financially” solo theater artist (aka me)? The show delves into these topics but also maintains a sense of humor about itself and the work. In the end, we make art because it’s fun, and we want people to share that fun. Whether it’s to twelve people at the Spectrum Art Gallery, or a sold out arena of twenty thousand, that sense of fun never changes. So, perhaps, we just need to “present” ourselves, and see what happens.
Written & Performed by Chris Davis
Directed by Mary Tuomanen
The Presented explores what it means to be a chosen artist in the world today. In his signature comedic style, Davis examines the issues facing many theater artists today in a fun and hilarious 50-minute show that will make you never want to pursue a career in the arts ever again.
Saturday, March 2 – 1:45 p.m.
Sunday, March 3 – 4:15 p.m.
Thursday, March 7 – 7:15 p.m.
Friday, March 8 – 8:30 p.m.
Spectrum Art Gallery
608 E. Olive Ave.
Fresno, California 93728
Tickets can be purchased here: roguefestival.ticketleap.com/the-presented
If you love theatre, be sure to check out our new Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors. The first 13 episodes are now up! You can check the podcast out on iTunes and Google Play, and also on podbean.