15th Prague Fringe Festival coming soon

Theater festival has some new elements but retains its friendly size

The 15th edition of the Prague Fringe Festival will take place from May 27 to June 4 at eight venues across Prague's Malá Strana district.

The festival presents alternative theater in English or nonverbal performances. The festival's busy schedule includes 52 different shows performed 273 times in total over nine days.

There is a new venue this year, the Golden Key on Nerudova Street. There are also a few new items to look forward to this year in the schedule.

While the US, the UK and Australia have always been well-represented, this year there will be a special section of performers from South Africa. Five different shows will include dance, magic and theater, all from different parts of the country.

“I am really exciting to have this season of South African shows at our festival,” Gove said.

A large Queer section is also planned for the 15th edition. Some 10 acts that are LGBT friendly or presented by LGBT people will be performed during the nine days of Festival.

Among them is a play called Beautiful Radiant Things: Queer Girl Tales, starring American actress Kathie Bergquist telling the story of a woman over 30 years and across three different cities.

There will also be some popular shows making return appearance. In the past, troupes or actors could come back, but only with a new show. Now some shows that sold out in the past will be available for a new audience.

Mexican-American group named Por Piedad Teatro will reprise their play called A Special Day , a story between two people on the day that Hitler arrives in Rome to meet Mussolini .

“It is a very odd back drop but a very beautiful relationship,” Gove said

There is also The Metamorphoses by J.B. Alexanders, which tells the story of a mediocre writer who, one morning found himself transformed into Franz Kafka.

Brite Theatre will reprise Emily Carding as Richard III. It is a one-woman show based on Shakespeare's play .

New shows from all over the world are, of course, the main offering. “Cabaret, music, magic, theater of almost every genre you could possibly imagine will be performed,” Gove said.

While it is hard to pick out one piece from the entire schedule, a highlight of the Fringe this year is a play by British comedy writer Henry Naylor called Echoes. He is mostly known for his work in Parsons and Naylor’s Pull-Out Sections on BBC Radio and he has been involved in the Edinburgh Fringe.

His play Echoes is about two women born 175 years apart, one a Jihadi bride and the other a Victorian pioneer. The multi-award winning play received good reviews, with The Guardian calling it “hugely impressive.”

The Fringe Sunday is also back, but this time at La Loca. It gives little one-minute previews of many of the performances. “It is like the brochure comes to life,” Gove said.

While the Fringe Sunday will give a good idea of the shows, it doesn't come until the third day.

Gove invites people to be aware of what’s going from the start and not to wait until the Fringe Sunday because the sales have started already and theaters are all quite small. Many shows sell out.

The capacity of shows ranges from four up to a hundred this year. Indeed, a Dutch promenade production happens at various points during the day but it is only for four people at a time. “It is a very intimate, special experience,” Gove said.

That is why it is recommended to book tickets online in advance.

To start your Fringe day, as previous years, you will be able to take a “Frunch” at La Loca in Mosaic House and this time with an even more exciting menu.

Frunch is a portmanteau word made of fringe and brunch (itself a portmanteau of breakfast and lunch).

“That name came by a typo in an email, and we thought it was brilliant so we thought let’s do it,” Gove said.

“Frunch is unique; I don’t think there is any other fringe festival that has a Frunch,” ha added.

To end your Fringe Day, you can join the nightly after-hours party at 11.30 p.m. at Malostranská beseda.

“There is everything from DJ nights to a film night to an award ceremony called the Fringes that closes the Fringe on the last night,” Gove said. At the end of the Festival, a panel of 20 judges vote for three different awards, the creative award, the inspiration award and the outstanding performance award.

The Prague Fringe Festival is inspired by the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which is the largest arts festival in the world.

In 2002, Gove had the idea to recreate the Fringe in Prague. The concept also exists in other countries but, according to Gove, the Prague Fringe Festival has something special compared to others fringe festivals in the world.

The reasonable size of the festival, not to big and not to small, provides a friendly atmosphere.

“You have a chance to talk to people after the show. You don’t get lost in the Prague Fringe like you could do in Edinburgh,” Gove said, adding he has decided to keep the festival a manageable size rather than expanding it every year.

If Edinburgh Fringe is a place to go at least one in his life, the Prague Fringe is more like a big family that gives a good reason to people all over the world to meet every year.

Tickets are Kč 150 for adults and kč 100 for students, and a Fringe Discount Voucher is available for Kč 600, which gives you the possibility to have 5 tickets for the price of 4.

This year, for the very first time you can also become a friend of the Fringe or a mini-sponsor to support the festival and make it better.

For more information please visit: www.praguefringe.com

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