Get your fix on the fringe

Jeff Maki

For those interested in supporting and indulging in the performance arts, in a week  the Forest Roberts Theatre (FRT) starts its second annual Fringe Festival, a celebration of NMU’s  graduating actors and theatrical diehards.

re-FringeFest.ForestRobertsTheater.OnlineBeginning Jan. 26, the FRT will be hosting a rotation of four plays. The four shows to be performed are, “The Myths and Bricks Project,” and “Painted Rain,” as well as “In a Mason Jar,” which is written by its lead actor and director, senior theatre major Coop Bicknell.

Finally, “Proof,” written by Pulitzer prize winner David Auburn, with the lead role played by NMU student and senior theatre major Laura Thompson, takes its own showings separate from the other plays. The tradition of a Fringe Festival comes from the shunning of eight theatre groups from an official festival in Edinburgh, Scotland resulting in the actors performing their productions anyways, but outside the festival on the “fringe,” according to the FRT web page.

“Fringe is definitely different in that it runs in rotating repertory, with several different shows each night. It’s much more similar to the professional world and is a great learning environment,” said stage manager Regan McKay and sophomore English and theatre major.

Students run the entire show for the Fringe Festival here. From the directors to the stage management and, of course, the actors, everything is handled without faculty intervention so that aspirants of the technical side of drama can get a chance to fully show what they’ve learned in class.

“Audience members should most look forward to unique theatrical work that directly reflects the students,” Mckay said. “They’re getting a glimpse at the tomorrow of the theatre industry by getting to see the culmination of a student’s entire degree.”

Junior double major in media production and theatre, and lead actor for

“Painted Rain,” Dane Wurmlinger  personally adores the show he’s starring in. Moving forward, he is enthusiastic and hopeful of  future theatre prospects, he said.

“I’ve been doing theatre since second grade, so if there’s any way I can continue to take part in theatre, I’ll do it,” said Wurmlinger.

He said that he is looking forward to how the audience reacts to the deep character development of the protagonist as it well establishes the mature theme of the festival. For people wondering whether or not this event is for them, Wurmlinger implores prospective theatre-goers to pick and choose shows based on their interests, but he hopes that all of the plays will be enjoyed.

Be considerate about bringing children and family as this production is not a feel-good family event. There will be strong language as well as mature themes of isolation and despair present. Those interested in a thought-provoking, dramatic experience will find what they are looking for, however, with the Fringe Festival.

Tickets are $15 for the public, $10 for students and $5 for NMU students. The four  productions will run from Jan. 26 to Feb. 4. Check the Forest Roberts Theatre page on the NMU website for further schedule details.