Theater students return to Fringe Festival

Celene Vargas
Staff Writer

University of La Verne theater students are immersing themselves in the Los Angeles theater scene by participating in the annual Hollywood Fringe Festival happening in June.

Senior theater major James Powell, junior theater major Jordan Klomp, junior theater major Sara Haddadin and sophomore business administration and theater double major Delaney Poe are four of the six ULV students participating in the month-long event. The festival puts on shows all throughout the Hollywood area. Some ULV alumni are also participating.

The festival is open to anyone who wants to partake. This is Klomp and Haddadin’s first time participating, Poe’s second time and the fourth time for Powell.

“It’s been really cool to have people from La Verne and people that have been working in (Los Angeles) steadily for years (meld) together and put a show together,” Powell said.

Powell and ULV alumnus Travis Snyder-Eaton have their own theater company, called the Rough Riders Theater Company.

They are putting on a production of “Faster” by American playwright Adam Rapp for the festival. Snyder-Eaton is director and Powell is technical director.

Poe is the costume designer, while Klomp plays the character Stargyl and junior theater major Alex Freitas does voice over work.

“It’s contemporary, post-apocalyptic (and) dark,” Klomp said, who is a part of the Theatricum Botanicum acting company in Topanga and Ophelia’s Jump in Claremont.

The story is about two adolescent boys from Chicago, Kitchin and Skram, who are trying to be gangsters but are not doing a good job of it. They get a call from a man who says if they kidnap a little girl, he will give them $4,000.

Kitchin and Skram decide to kidnap her, but realize she is more than just a little girl, when their actions bring about the apocalypse.

Their preview is June 7 at The Other Space theater in West Hollywood and performances are on June 11, 20, 21 and 27.

“We have some amazing actors in our piece,” Powell said. “(Some are) from Sacred Fools Theater Company, (which Travis and I are) a part of.”

Haddadin is stage managing a different show called “Shakespeare(ish).”

“Shakespeare(ish)” is being put on by a theater company called the Rogue Artist Ensemble. Haddadin recently became an associate artist with them.

She became involved through ULV alumni Alexis Robles and Matt Hill.

“They needed help and they saw I was the right person to help out, so I would go in and kept connections that way,” Haddadin said.

“Shakespeare(ish)” will be performed June 8, 13, 15, 27 and 28 in the Elephant Space at Theater Asylum.

“Shows are usually under 90 minutes and in small theaters since those (tend to be) the ones that take part,” Klomp said.

Although the Hollywood Fringe Festival takes place during the summer, rehearsals for it have already started. This leaves student participants having to balance school with their production.

“It’s difficult, (but) my theater professors are really understanding, and they want us to go out and do this stuff,” Powell said.

“It’s just being really good at scheduling and drinking a lot of coffee.”

Fringe was established in Scotland in 1947 when eight theater groups performed uninvited on the “fringes” of the Edinburgh International Festival. The concept of open performances has taken place internationally and in major U.S. cities like New York City, Chicago and San Francisco.

Fringe participants have a chance of winning awards. They vary depending on the festival.

The Hollywood Fringe awards are categorized by community-voted awards, sponsored awards and encore presentations.

In 2014, Powell was the stage manager in the production of “Absolutely Filthy” by playwright Brendan Hunt at the New York Fringe Festival in August.

The production won Best of Fringe, Audience Favorite and Best Lead Comedic Role.

“We got asked back to do the encore presentation of the Fringe there in New York,” Powell said.

This was his third time participating in the Fringe Festival.

Poe’s costume designs from the production of “Forced Conviction” written by Snyder-Eaton won her the Frugal Fabulous Award at the 2014 Hollywood Fringe.

She was also the assistant costume designer for “Dramatis Personae” written and directed by Associate Professor of Theatre Sean Dillon and ULV alumnus Curtis Krick, which was originally was performed for the 2014 Fringe Festival.

Celene Vargas can be reached at celene.vargas@laverne.edu.

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