Grabbing Hold of the Fringe In Fest’s Fifth Year

Updated: November 14, 11:45 a.m.

OffBeat is giving away a pair of tickets of Fringe Fest 2012. To enter, simply fill out this form. This contest will close at 3:00 p.m. tomorrow afternoon, Thursday, November 15. The lucky winner will be notified by the end of the day. Good luck!

Initial post: November 8, 2012, 2:47 p.m.

The New Orleans Fringe Festival returns to the Crescent City this month, bringing five consecutive days of independent theater to performance venues throughout the Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods. Now in its fifth year, the festival will run November 14-18 and feature more than 70 individual performance pieces spanning a range of genres including comedy, drama, puppetry, music and dance.

The Mysterious Axeman's Jazz plays as a part of the Fifth Annual New Orleans Fringe Festival.

The event centers around the Free-For-All tent at Press and Dauphine in the Marigny, an interactive gathering place featuring food, drinks and “peep shows” – five-minute previews designed to give audiences a better idea of what there is to see. Organized into the two categories of Fringe-Managed and Bring-Your-Own events, Fringe has become a benchmark in the local theater and performance scene, drawing visitors from around the country to New Orleans for a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience.

“It breaks down to about half and half,” Fringe Media Coordinator Shannon Flaherty explains of the New Orleans versus national and international composition of the festival. “The Fringe-managed events are usually about two-thirds visiting, one-third local and the Bring Your Own Venues are the reverse so it evens out to about 50/50.” The 25 Fringe-managed events include performances at Café Istanbul at the New Orleans Healing Center, the Den of Muses, Marigny Opera House and Shadowbox Theatre. This year’s Bring-Your-Own venues extend to such venues as the Anne Rice House, Divine Yoga Center, the Clouet Gardens and the NOLA Candle Factory.

Despite the sheer volume and variety of the festival’s offerings, Flaherty (herself a performer) expressed enthusiasm about a particular selection of plays including Desiree Burch’s Tar Baby, the Mudlark Puppeteers’ Mysterious Axeman’s Jazz and the Donley Dance Project’s Let Me Told You, a music-centered piece inspired by the Delta rhythm and blues of Jimmy Donley.

“There are so many wonderful pieces this year, but these in particular seem to incorporate music in a way that makes them really relevant to local audiences. The Mysterious Axeman’s Jazz in particular is actually based on this real story about a serial killer who said if he heard jazz playing in people’s houses he would leave them alone… it’s just perfect for New Orleans.”

Tickets for Fringe Festival, which runs from Wednesday, November 14-Sunday, November 18, can be purchased for $8 for a single show either online or at the Fringe box office adjacent to the Free-For-All tent. While all Fringe audiences are required to acquire a $3 Fringe Button, festival-goers are also able to purchase a six-show pass for $40 or an All-Access pass for $99. For more information on the festival itself or the individual performances, visit the New Orleans Fringe Festival website.

Ten recommendations follow.

Let Me Told You by the Donley Dance Project from New Orleans

The Mysterious Axeman’s Jazz by The Mudlark Puppeteers from New Orleans

The Self-Portrait of Jonathan Jenkins by New Fangled Opera from New Orleans

Instant Misunderstanding by Goat in the Road from New Orleans

RAVEN by The SMASHUP! Players from San Francisco & New Orleans

Tar Baby by Desiree Burch from NYC

A Lovely Picnic by ticktock from Seattle

Grim & Fischer by WONDERHEADS from Portland

Helpless Doorknobs by MTB Productions from New Orleans & Brooklyn

Trash Rabbit
by Button Wagon from New Mexico


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  • Ah, newcomers

    The axe-man show “is just perfect for New Orleans”?! Well, of course, it happened here. Does Ms. Flaherty even know that?

    • Swamp Deville

      Matter of fact, she does.

      Glad you agree that it’ll be a great show. Cheers.