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New York International Fringe Festival Brings Indie Theater Downtown

By Dan Rivoli | August 8, 2012 10:36am

MANHATTAN — Looking to catch a play about a Twitter political scandal or a Shakespeare-themed version of "Pulp Fiction"?

Downtown Manhattan will be a hotbed of thespian culture when the New York International Fringe Festival launches Friday, featuring 17 days of plays, musicals and performances from independent artists.

Entering its 16th year, the multi-arts festival brings together 200 performance groups and theater companies from around the world to showcase work from new talent. Also known as FringeNYC, the festival will feature 187 performances at 19 venues throughout the East Village and Greenwich Village from Aug. 10 to 26.

“Take advantage of the opportunity to see some of the world’s best and brightest indie theatre artists and hear what these extraordinary playwrights, composers, choreographers, directors and performers have to say,” FringeNYC says in its program guide.

The plays cover a range of topics and are a mix of drama, comedy and satire. There are personal shows like "Women of Smoke," about a family living in a West Texas border town, and "From Busk Till Dawn," about life as a New York City street performer.

Politics and the presidential season also inspired plays like "#MormonInChief," about a Mormon embroiled in a media storm for making controversial tweets inspired by a presidential candidate and fellow Mormon. Tail!Spin! — starring "Saturday Night Live" alum Rachel Dratch and comedian Mo Rocca — is ripped from the headlines, based around the comments and confessions of politics’ most scandalous philanderers.

William Shakespeare will make an appearance during the festival with plays such as "Twelfth Night" and one called "Pulp Shakespeare" that imagines The Bard penning Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction"

In addition to the scheduled plays, the festival features free outdoor performances as part of the city’s Summer Streets program on a stretch of East Fourth Street between the Bowery and Second Avenue that will be closed to traffic.

There are also performances for children at the festival’s FringeJR events, which feature a puppet show called "Blown Away by Poetry" and a musical based on the stories of the Brothers Grimm.

Tickets for FringeNYC are $15 in advance and $18 at the door, with packages available for multiple performances. To see the full list and schedule of performances, visit FringeNYC’s website.