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Funny, controversial and timely, Frigid Fest is what's hot in indie theater

Since there's no FringeNYC this year, this indie showcase is your one chance to see a survey of cutting-edge theater.
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    "SAHMs Club" |Sullivan O'Connor

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    "A Fifth Dimension: An Unauthorized ‘Twilight Zone’ Parody"|Chris Weigandt

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    "Upstream Swimming" |Purroy Productions


Theater fans are going to be missing one of their marquee events this year. The New York Fringe Festival, the largest multi-disciplinary arts festival in North America, is taking 2017 off to retool its format, which means Frigid Festival is your big chance to see the latest in avant garde theater.

The showcase, going on now through March 5, is celebrating its 11th year of helping groundbreaking theater artists find audiences. Plays of any format, length and genre can be submitted, and the creators take home 100 percent of proceeds from the box office (so, yes, they get more than “exposure” for their time and talent).

Feb. 13-March 5Kraine Theater, 5 E. Fourth St.Under St. Marks, 94 St. Marks PlaceFree-$20, horsetrade.info

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Frigid Executive Director Erez Ziv says attendance is likely to go up — “the NYC theater audience is a hungry audience.” The fest’s two venues are just down the street from one another, making things pretty convenient for fans. If you’re overwhelmed by 150-plus performances taking place over 12 days, Ziv suggests: “Buy a three-show pass to start. Then ask volunteers, staff and audience members what they liked.”

That said, he did share some early favorites:

The Refugee Playsis a group of shorts asking what it means to be a refugee when the whole world is on fire. “This show is getting a lot of attention,” says Ziv. “It turned out to be even more timely now than when they applied. We should all be hearing these stories more to promote opening our doors, like civilized people.”

Upstream Swimmingis “a lovely story from one of America’s first turkey-baster babies, from before having two dads was a cool thing,” according to Ziv. This first-person show about growing up with same-sex parents in the ‘80s is written and performed by Lindsey Steinert, who offers free tickets to same-sex couples thinking about starting a family or those who bring their kids (ages 14 and up).

A Fifth Dimension: An Unauthorized Twilight Zone Parodyis already a crowd favorite and a returning entry to the fest. While some shows deliberately comment on current themes, Ziv says “some shows go out of their way to ignore the world today.” Consider this your latter option for some guilt-free theater fun.

SAHM’s Clubmight be about what Ziv calls the “Brooklyn mommy game” but will speak to all NYC mothers, as well as those of us watching friends turn into crazy city parents one by one.

How to Sell Your Gang Rape Baby For Partsoffers a title that’s designed to make you feel just a little uncomfortable — but don’t worry, it provides the laughs to keep you from squirming off your seat. That doesn’t mean the subject matter isn’t serious, as wellness professionals Libby and Ali deep-dive into the quest for women’s liberation. “It sounds crazy,” Ziv says, “but it’s got some great talent behind it. I’m excited.”

 

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