Maybe you’ve heard of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival that happens every August in Edinburgh, Scotland? If not, it’s an amazing month of theater celebration. Every venue that can transforms itself into a theater: restaurants, libraries, universities, even shipping containers appear in the streets that can house an audience of 40-50 people. And each day, you have a choice of roughly 3000 shows to go and see. There’s something for everyone: drama, comedy, musicals, cabaret, circus acts, choirs, vaudeville, stand up comedians, huge productions and solo shows. It’s exhilarating, stimulating, inspiring and soooo much fun!
This year, several actors from Los Angeles are headed to the Fringe to perform their shows. It’s quite the leap of faith because it’s expensive to put on a show, plus you have no idea where you are, the accents are hard to understand, and your entire support system is thousands of miles away.
Cindy D’Andrea is one such brave soul. An actor, writer, producer, fitness expert and award-winning solo performer, Cindy talked to SoCal Magazine about her show “Cat Sh!t Crazy”, which she will perform in Edinburgh. Cat Sh!t Crazy is about finding love when Cindy rescued two kittens from the shelter. She has been an animal rescuer and volunteer for over 20 years and hopes to connect with fellow animal lovers of all kinds and save some cats in the process!
1: Have you taken part in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival before? — I have not, but it has been a dream of mine to perform there since 2016. Last year, I went to the festival as a spectator and had the best time while doing my research and taking notes!
2: Have you traveled a lot or is this a new experience? — This is a new experience. As a kid, we didn’t have the money to travel. And as I got older, I didn’t want to leave my cats and was too busy trying to save all the homeless and feral cats in Los Angeles, of course!
3: What are you most worried about with taking your show to the Fringe?— Loaded question! Definitely the tech side of things including getting a consistent operator, short rehearsal times, communication with the venue, details with posters, flyers, getting butts in the seats and standing outside in the rain in my cat costume handing out flyers!
4: Is anyone going with you? — Going solo! I’m looking for someone to help me while I’m there though and have been connecting with some lovely locals.
5: Have you performed in other countries before? — No, I’ve only ever performed in the U.S.
6: What do you think is the biggest difference between British audiences and American ones? — I’m not sure. I think Americans are more emotional in their responses and Brits perhaps enjoy raw comedy more. I’ll find out and get back to you!
Next up, we spoke with Star Stone, an actress, producer and playwright whose work focuses on uplifting survivors of gender based violence. Star is the creator of the edu-tainment comedy #MeToo, a one-woman show that centers on Star’s real life experiences with sexual assault and gender-based violence. But this is not a show focused on a single perpetrator, it’s a show focused on the organizations and systems that function to uphold rape culture. #MeToo is a provocative, wildly funny, boundary-pushing, educational show.
Having spent time in LA, on and off for 9 years, Star has performed at the Hollywood Fringe Festival and SOLOFEST. “Working with artistic director of the Whitefire (and producer of SOLOFEST), Bryan Rasmussen was a phenomenal experience. I premiered to a sold out first night at SOLOFEST and was grateful to the Soaring Solo Community for showing up in support of me and my work! The Hollywood Fringe Festival was an equally incredible experience. I signed on as producer for the first time during this run. If anything, the Fringe taught me to take risks, be bold with my choices, fearlessly and fiercely own my own ideas and most importantly, have fun!”
1. Have you taken part in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival before? — Nope- first timer!
2. Have you traveled a lot or is this a new experience? — First time in Europe.
3. What are you most looking forward to? — Connecting with other solo artists and being able to share my work with new audiences!
Click here for a recent interview with Star.
Last, but not least, is Nalini Sharma with her show, UNTIL DEATH – a solo show that combines theater and clowning, set in a hospital where time collapses and humans panic in moments of death and existence. Inspired by her childhood, during which Nalini survived more than one motorcycle accident, and spent quite a bit of time in hospitals. UNTIL DEATH is an absurdist, feminist, pragmatist, clown-ist, anti-centrist, pre-industrialist, present-dogist, post-experimentalist show… There’s something for everyone. Except children. Don’t bring children to this one.
1. Have you taken part in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival before? — I have not! Poppin’ the Edinburgh Fringe cherry with this one. Don’t be too nervous for me, the first time can be great too.
2. Have you traveled a lot or is this a new experience? — Luckily and gratefully, I’ve travelled a lot in my life. My family loves their family vacations and we go outside of America and India frequently. We have yet to hit Scotland, however. So I’m particularly thrilled for this trip. And ofcourse once my parents found out I’m doing a show in a country they haven’t been to, they didn’t hesitate to book their tickets to come see me. Wish me luck, my father does not know what burlesque is. And yes there is burlesque in my show.
3. What are you most worried about? — Drinking Scotch for days on end. Oh, thank you for reminding me. I need to look up the taxi or ride-share services they have.
4. What are you most looking forward to? — Drinking Scotch for days on end. And doing my show.
5. Is anyone going with you? — Yes! My wonderfully talented director, Sophia Cleary and my wonderfully talented clown friend, Mike Rose who is featured in my show is also coming!
6. What do you think is the biggest difference between British audiences and American ones? — It seems to me British audiences are open to more risk takers. They seem to love the weird, outlier characters or stories that are woven in non-traditional ways. I’m excited to share my show with them.
Now, make sure to support these talented ladies and get yourself to Edinburgh!