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Time to get ‘fringey’

Preparations for the 2012 KC Fringe Festival, a fun local avante-garde arts festival that debuted in 2004, are well underway.

This year’s fest runs July 19-29 at a variety of venues throughout KC and will display UMKC playwright Pete Bakely’s play, “Skillet Tag.”

“Skillet Tag” revolves around a group of corporate employees who are summoned to their boss’s remote house for a team building exercise. An accidental murder causes a downward spiral.

“It’s another delicious dark comedy from Pete Bakely and it will offer up everything a night at the theatre should offer,” director Sam Slosburg said. “It’s timely and relevant, it’s absolutely mortifying and you may just pee your pants laughing.”

Over the last eight years, FringeFest has become a local spectacular.

From burlesque and theatre, to clowning and art and everything in between, this festival is sure to entertain and challenge audience members of all backgrounds and ages.

“KC Fringe has rapidly become the best local showcase for actors, directors and playwrights. Because of the nature of the program, this is where locals show off their best and most personal works,” Bakely said.

Bakely premiered his play, “Jet Propulsion,” as a part of the 2011 Fringe Festival.

“Bakely is an eccentric satirist who fearlessly tackles the taboo while providing opportunities for up and coming KC actors,” said actor Chelsey Tighe.

“Skillet Tag,” directed by Sam Slosburg and produced by Kelsey Kallenberger, will include UMKC acting talents Laura Jacobs, J. Will Fritz, Matt Leonard and Chelsey Tighe. Other local talent includes Kenna Hall, Kyle Wallen and Aurélie Roque. Jay Aiken is set to be the fight choreographer and Tess Roam has been hired as makeup artist.

Performance dates are July 21 and 22 at 6:30 p.m., July 23 at 9:30 p.m., July 25 at 8 p.m., and July 27 at 9 p.m.

All performances will take place on Unicorn Theatre’s main stage.

“Everyone should come and see ‘Skillet Tag’ because it’s a fresh, quirky show that pushes boundaries,” Tighe said.

Bakely never ceases to invent new ways of pushing the boundaries. However, be forewarned because a play from Bakely may throw something at you that you didn’t ever intend to see or hear, which is what makes his plays forever memorable. Skillet Tag will represent Bakely well.

How to ‘Fringe’

Fringe Festival buttons, required for admission, can be purhcased at theatre venues throughout the city or online.

This button must be presented for admittance into a show, along with a ticket. Proceeds from button sales go directly to the festival to help fund the event. Tickets benefit the artists in each show.

In 2011, there were 115 artist entries and 367 individual performances. Going to a Fringe event isa casual, yet exhilarating, experience. The colorful events have the ability to make the audience laugh, cry and ‘pee their pants.’

There will be several opportunities to see a show this year July 19-29, including Bakely’s “Skillet Tag.”

“Fringe is superb because pretty much everyone jumps on board, professionals and amateurs, and it gives everyone a chance to work together purely for the love of it in a common ground scenario, and then some real bangin’ work is created,” Slosburg said.

Over the last several years, KC has made huge strides in its theatre scene with new professional theatres and companies opening each year. The Fringe helps spur excitement each summer for the upcoming theatre season.

“Keeping the theatre alive isn’t just vital for the arts community; it’s vital for the city. It’s become an organ that helps the soul of this city survive,” Tighe said.

While theatre is the largest category of events offered through Fringe Festival, other forms of art are also available to witness. For those in the artsy crowd who prefer visual art, last year’s venue, The Wine Gallery, featured many artists’ work for the public to enjoy.

Dancers might enjoy one of the burlesque troupes tantalizing performances, and children might enjoy a nice red nosed clown show. The festival offers a wide array of artistic creations.

There is something for every age and every form of artistic appreciation. Stay tuned at for information about this year’s lineup.

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