By Kat Kramer
Well folks, as the 2021 Hollywood Fringe Festival ends this week, I want to share my thoughts on several of the original shows that caught my attention. Two are diverse solo shows directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson, and the third one features a cast
“TRANSSETTER” – A new solo show, written and performed by Veronica Carey Matthews. Directed and developed by Jessica Lynn Johnson. Produced by Ginger Fail Productions. It opened August 8th at Studio/Stage on Western Avenue.
“TransSetter’ is what you may think, a riff on the phrase (trend setter) and is a solo show about Carey Matthews transitioning into Veronica Carey Matthews. Told through humor with an educational narrative, “TransSetter” is entertaining and unique. As an actress, Veronica shines in the comedic premise. She was Carey, a male actor in Hollywood who is engaged in stand-up and sketch comedy. Carey grew up in the Bay area, and his life didn’t open up until he worked in Los Angeles.
Carey was also addicted to cough syrup, spent time in jail for a DUI, and most of the show consists of Veronica portraying Carey before the decision was made to become “Veronica.”
“Transsetter” is inventive with Veronica asking questions like “Am I trans? I don’t know. But I didn’t need to know.” Veronica makes an observation that “transgender people are often referred to as eggs.” The opening alone drew applause with Veronica dancing and ended with a standing ovation. Kudos to Jessica Lynn Johnson for an excellent job directing.”Transsetter” was performed in front of a live audience, but also livestreamed.
“The Book That Won’t Close: Confessions Of A Love Addict” – a new solo show written, produced and performed by TL Forsberg. Produced and developed by Jessica Lynn Johnson.It opened August 5th at the Broadwater Black Box.
TL Forsberg is part hearing, part deaf, but she identifies as a deaf woman. She uses American Sign Language (ASL), but she can speak. TL also sings, and is called the “Deaf Lady Gaga.” Being a part of both the deaf and hearing worlds has been a double edged sword for TL. In “The Book That Won’t Close” she focuses on her relationships with men that didn’t last…. a Love Addiction. Being diversity-abled has made relationships complicated.
TL portrays Treva, a fluid, Transgender Orgasmic Meditation Coach. TL uses ASL, music, dance, video projection, and spoken voice to tell her story. She plays various characters, and yes, she has an ASL interpreter. TL is an advocate for not only the deaf community, but the overall disability community.
“The Book That Won’t Close” strives for authenticity and she blends ASL and poetry in unique ways. She bridges the gap between the deaf and hearing cultures. “The Book That Won’t Close” is already award winning and received a Diversity Scholarship for the 2021 Hollywood Fringe Festival.TL Forsberg and her Confessions of A Love Addict will perform in front of a live audience on Sunday August 29th at The Broadwater Black Box. It will be livestreamed for online audiences as an option.
“Postcards From A Bench” – A program of four short comedies – This one is a virtual show written by John Doble, produced and directed by JC Gafford, presented by 11 West Productions. All four acts are couples and love.
“Nothing New Under The Sun” stars Harry Fakouras and Kaylena Mann, A woman meets a school teacher on a park bench, and she gives him an ultimatum. They humorously converse about outer space and the Universe.
“Twilight Time” – stars Carlos Gomez and Bita Arefnia as Ben and Geri. Two people meet on a park bench who are both contemplating killing themselves. “I can’t decide the best way to commit suicide” Geri proclaims, although she has “31 ways and counting.”. A humorous bonding where Geri discussed “Thelma and Louise” driving off a cliff, and how they can both die together. They end up deciding not to do it, and fall in love. This comedy about suicide that ends on a positive note.
“Try, Try Again”-Stars Lexi Collins and Tucker Boggs as a couple who discuss the Renaissance, World War 2, and Trump? They worry about “the dark ages all over again.”
“ESP” – An odd tale about a couple named Ken and Barbie, on a park bench with a dog named Brewster communicate so they can read each other’s minds.
Director JC Gafford has an extensive background directing theatre, he’s a musician and high school drama department director. Playwright John Doble has had his plays performed across the country and in the UK.Doble is New York based, and his first screenplay THE AMEN SISTERHOOD won the 2020 Humanitas New Voices Award.
There’s still time to check out the 2021 Hollywood Fringe Festival which ends Sunday August 29th. For ticket information, go to www.HollywoodFringe.org
Live your dreams…