The thing about the wholly original, almost unearthly Capital Fringe Festival, which had its beginnings back in 2006, is that, in every which way, it remains just that: on the fringe.
The festival — it runs through July 29 — is the main creation of founder and director Julianne Brienza. It had its origins as an offshoot of a festival of original theater in Edinburgh, Scotland, lo these many years ago, as have other such festivals in North America and elsewhere.
It has moved, added and subtracted venues almost yearly, an indication of both its success and its variety of interests. It’s a fluctuating entity in what is now a city undergoing tremendous change. This year, most of the theatrical offerings are occurring in the booming Southwest neighborhood. That encompasses Arena Stage, the Blind Whino SW Arts Club, St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, Christ United Methodist Church and Westminster Presbyterian Church. (For what it’s worth, I once saw a Fringe play at the now sadly defunct Ike’s Mambo Room in Adams Morgan and in an office in a downtown building.)
It’s hard to go about recommending plays in the festival. They are all uniformly and un-uniformly out of the mainstream, unique, fresh and original. I have no system except to look for companies with odd names, plays with offbeat themes and, failing all that, go with the what-the-hell instinct.
Here are a few currently tempting me: “Chlamydia dell’Arte: More Sex Ed Burlesque,” “Dragon Hunting Support Group,” “How to Fall in Love on a Warming Planet,” “Metaphorse,” “Marx in Soho,” “Master Mimes: The Show,” “A Two Woman Hamlet,” “Sucks to Be a Grownup,” “Hexagon 2018: Tweet Land of Liberty” and “Heartbreak Hitman.”
Admission to individual shows is $17 plus a Fringe button ($7), with multiple-show passes available. For the complete schedule and other details, visit capitalfringe.org.