"The big winner was probably no surprise to those who saw it: “8 Songs for a Mad King,” the trippy and interactive opera-meets-Twitter-meets-Trump experience at the U.S. Grant Hotel."
After 10 days and some 500 performances from 80-plus acts, the fifth annual San Diego International Fringe Festival had its swan song on Sunday.But not without handing out awards — more than 30 of them, as befits the sprawling size of the cross-border fest.The big winner was probably no surprise to those who saw it: “8 Songs for a Mad King,” the trippy and interactive opera-meets-Twitter-meets-Trump experience at the U.S. Grant Hotel. (We reviewed that one earlier.)It was also gratifying to see the fiercely poetic “The Lioness” pick up an award, as well as such favorites as “Flight” (which I didn’t get a chance to see but generated plenty of buzz during the fest).
The success of “8 Songs” points to the wisdom of the festival’s “Bring Your Own Venue” option: Using a hotel ballroom rather than one of the established, fest-provided venues allowed the producers, Bodhi Tree Concerts, to pick and customize a space that fit the show’s needs and artistic vibe.
Fest artists took that idea and ran with it: One show, about a pair of struggling new parents and their baby, was staged in a downtown Airbnb rental. (Presumably the owners knew it was being used for that purpose.)
Site-specific and immersive programming was a growing fest trend overall for 2017, and one that with any luck will continue.
In sum, Fringe seemed its usual smooth-running self this year, with a diverse mix of artists and disciplines and a healthy level of participation — although no final stats on attendance or revenues are yet available. (All ticket proceeds go directly to artists.)
While we’re waiting for the numbers to come in, here’s the full list of Fringe award-winners:
Best of Fest: “8 Songs for a Mad King,” Bodhi Tree Concerts.
Audience Favorite: “Incandescent,” Lighthouse Circus
Critic’s Pick: “Flight,” Curbside
Artists’ Pick Award: “Are You Lovin' It?,” Theatre Group Gumbo
Outstanding Drama: “To Fall In Love…,” Jeneric Melpomene
Outstanding Comedy: “Are You Lovin' It?,” Theatre Group Gumbo
Outstanding Opera or Musical: “The Banza,” Ellipsoid Players.
Outstanding Artist in a Comedy: “Help! I Think I Might Be Fabulous,” Alfie Ordinary
Outstanding Actor in a Drama: “Eleanor’s Story,” Ingrid Garner
Outstanding Actor in a Drama or Musical: “8 Songs for a Mad King,” Walter DuMelle, Bodhi Tree Concerts
Outstanding Ensemble: “Into The Walker Woods,” Turning Tydes Theatre Co.
Outstanding Dance Performance: “Hip Hop cabHOORAY,” Melissa Adao
Outstanding Site-Specific: “There's No Place,” Althea Theatre
Outstanding Direction: “The Banza,” Jason Maddy, Ellipsoid Players
Outstanding Writing: “To Fall In Love,” Jeneric Melpomene
Outstanding Magic or Mentalist Performance: “Mark Toland – Mind Reader”
Outstanding Physical Theatre: “Beau & Aero: Crash Landing,” A Little Bit Off”
Outstanding Solo Performance: “Underneath the Lintel,” Patrick O’Brien
Outstanding World Premiere: “Echoes of Gallows,” Astraeus Aerial Dance Theatre
Outstanding Performance: “Searchin’ for the Write,” Yvonne.
Outstanding Storytelling: “From Como to Homo,” Jassem Ink
Outstanding Aerial or Circus: “Echoes of Gallows,” Astraeus Aerial Dance Theatre
Outstanding LGBT Performance: “Princes,” Boy+MonsterOutstanding Production: “The Lioness,” bkSOUL
Outstanding International Artist: “Lifegate,” Giorgia MazzucatoJonathan Dunn-Rankin Scholarship Award / Creative Arts Initiative for Supporting New Works: Blinkspot Collective, “Untold”
New Zealand Fringe Tour Ready Award Winners: A Little Bit Off
Emerging Fringe / Creative Arts Scholarship Program:1st Place: “Nirvana,” Sweetwater High School2nd Place: “Dream of Life,” Canyon Crest Academy3rd Place: “For The Love of Theatre,” Steele Canyon High School