All-You-Can-Eat Theatre at Frigid Festival 

Nancy Kim 

I’m going to confess up front right here. I love buffets: the all-you-can eat kind as well as the buffets-by-the-pound from your generic NYC deli. Seeing the buffet spread in all its overabundant glory is the perfect picture of exciting possibilities. I like going around the steam tables to take a small heap of this and a scoop of that. I so much prefer tasting a variety of things as opposed to sitting in front of an entrée of a single mound of food (and it’s healthier, too).

I think that's how I like things in general, because I get the same delightful and gluttonous feelings during theatre festivals. Every summer when the FringeNYC catalog comes out, I pore over it studiously and circle a whole pu-pu platter of all the shows I want to catch during the run. And while FringeNYC is the Las Vegas size buffet of festivals, I am as giddy with the other festivals that are more geography-focused or genre-specific. Much like when the Kim family went to the Korean galbi buffet in Flushing, I am joyous to find a festival whose programming seems tailored to match my interests such as the NY Clown Theatre Festival or the National Asian American Theatre Festival. In fact, New York City teems with a broad range of festivals year round.

With many theatre artists and OOB companies showcasing some of their best work at festivals, it seems only natural that these productions should also be recognized. As a test case, the Frigid Festival, now in its 2nd year, has made special arrangements for eligibility for the New York Innovative Theatre Awards. Out of the 30 shows being presented at the Frigid Festival, 14 of the NYC based shows will be eligible for IT Awards. Using a similar judging formula for shows with longer runs, Frigid Fest productions will be evaluated by 3 judges, including representatives of other Frigid Fest productions and judges from the larger IT Awards judging pool, as well as the audience. The festival runs from February 25, 2008 to March 9, 2008.

Horse Trade Theater Group is the New York producer of the Frigid Festival and founded the festival last year with EXIT Theatre, producers of the long-running San Francisco Fringe Festival. The Frigid Festival is unique because it is part of the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals (CAFF), a national association of 23 theatre festivals across Canada and the United States. As part of this association, the Frigid Festival marks the first stop in the North American festival circuit where artists and theatre companies can plan to tour their shows throughout the country. Producing Director (and Innovative Theatre Awards Community Relations Manager) Morgan Lindsey Tachco believes the circuit embodies the emerging movement and celebration of the underground/grassroots, do-it-yourself theatre. Tachco tells of one artist, Emily Morwen, who traveled the circuit with her solo show last year. While at the start of the circuit, the show was in a workshop phase. By the time Morwen reached the San Francisco Fringe Festival, the final stop in the circuit, she had fine tuned and performed the show for many audiences and went on to win the SF Fringe's Best Female Drama Award. Morwen returns to the circuit this year directing a solo show. The circuit presents an opportunity for artists to grow and for their shows to mature in front of a nationwide audience.

This year, the Frigid Festival presents work from artists and theatre companies coming from New Jersey, Tennessee, Colorado, California, and beyond. As with many festivals, the diversity of shows at Frigid Fest will satisfy all theatre-loving appetites. On Monday, February 25th at 7pm, catch a range of these shows at the Frigid Snapshot Show at UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place). For your next course, proceed to opening night on February 27th where you can catch the Frigid Festival in “3 Theaters, 12 Days, 30 Shows, over 150 performances.” A true feast.


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