Orlando Fringe 2022 Gives Creative Space for Valencia College Grads, Students to Excel – Valencia Voice

Fringe Festival Logo (Orlando Fringe via https://orlandofringe.org/)

Bill Warriner, fight director and theater professor at Valencia College, summed up the Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival best; “Fringe allows you to expand your options…you can do slapstick, classic violence, more housekeeping; funny to dramatic, real to surreal, it’s all there.” Fringe is an unjudged, independent festival with a lottery that selects about a hundred shows each year. Valencia College alumni and undergraduates are well represented at the Fringe performances and shared their experiences at this year’s festival. Whatever your interest, supporting local artists and our community in Valencia is as easy as purchasing the $10 Fringe admission button and purchasing a ticket to your favorite show.

The Fringe Lawn (Ashleigh Gardner via Fringe Orlando)

Orlando Fringe began May 17th and will last through May 30th at Loch Haven Park, 777 E. Princeton St. just off N. Mills Ave. There you will find most live show venues at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center, Orlando Museum of Art and Orlando Repertory Theater. The green lawns at Loch Haven Park include food vendors, bars and an outdoor stage with free entertainment for those waiting to see Fringe highlights or just socialize. Other venues known as BYOV or Bring Your Own Venue include The Abbey, Savoy Orlando and the Stardust Lounge. They also host Fringe Festival events for the rest of the month. The Abbey is home to this year’s Hardly Working Productions, a Shakespearean adaptation of the 1986 sci-fi horror film Aliens. Theater professor, 30-year stage combat instructor and combat director Bill Warriner spoke about his time at Hardly Working Productions and his experiences at Valencia College.

Shakespeare with a difference. Shakespeare’s Aliens by Hardly Working Promotions. Two more shows. (Orlando Fringe)

Bill Warriner graduated from the 1989 Dr. Phillips High School and attended the American Music Academy in Connecticut. Enrolling in martial arts as a child, he was fascinated with the performing arts and wanted to pursue something non-musical, due in part to a hearing impairment. Warriner studied at AMDA and is a member of the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD). Warriner has enjoyed a long career at Disney as a member of World Showcase Players and Sleuth’s Mystery Dinner Theater Dinner. In his spare time, he is resident fight director of Phantasmagoria, a group that last performed at MegaCon 2022 last weekend.

Professor Warriner will return to teaching Stage Combat classes at Valencia College in the fall semester. Warriner explains, “If you fight on stage, you can get hired. You can become a battle captain, someone to keep the fight going. Stage combat on a resume and the ability to play the basics yourself can set you apart from other performers.

Warriner reminds everyone that Fringe is a non-profit and all proceeds from the show go to the artists and cast members. “Shakespeare’s Aliens” is “Sigourney Weaver with Shakespearean dialects” and so much more.

Micah Gregory, 21, AA in General Studies from 2022, is a recent Valencia graduate and actor in this year’s Fringe. Gregory plays the role of schoolteacher Bradley this year The Millennial Theater Project Production “Undetectable”. Gregory says, “When we had rehearsals, I also took acting classes from Professor Aradhana Tiwari. I would say the timing couldn’t be more perfect. I was able to apply everything she taught me to my performance.”

Scene from Orlando Fringe’s “Undetectable”. (The Millennial Theater Project)

As Micah explains, “Undetectable is a series about a gay couple who struggle with intimacy issues. Lex is a wild handsome boy who likes parties and drugs and only wants to have sex with his boyfriend. Bradley is a school teacher who retired from the gay party scene after contracting HIV from a former lover.” Gregory summarized, “The story is an hour long and covers so much from race issues to suicide and HIV about dealing with inner demons we all have.” Undetectable is rated for adult audiences.

Another Valencia graduate involved in Undetectable is Jamie DeHay. DeHay received his AA in Live Entertainment Design & Production in 2011 and is a business owner and set designer based in Orlando. DeHay’s store The Elves Did It is a full-service home and business decoration service specializing in holiday decoration. DeHay is also producing and directing four Fringe shows this year. The commercial space used by DeHay was opened up for fringe performances, allowing the cast and crew to work more closely together ahead of the festival. DeHay says his shop is perfect during the slower summer months to support the art and the artists who make it.

DeHay’s work and direction can be seen in Forced Perspective Entertainment “Les misers

Forced Perspective Entertainment’s “Les MiserABBA” concludes this weekend with two more screenings. (Orlando Fringe)

ABBA,” a fusion of Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel and a song listing featuring the band ABBA from the 1970s; Lumu Productions’ Down the Rabbit Hole, described as a sexy adult-only cartoon set, features “a cast of popular well-known cartoon rabbits hanging out at a local pub to celebrate New Year’s Eve”; and Invisible theater of images “The Gay 90’s Musical” described as “a big ol’ gay vaudeville act in a fast-paced musical revue featuring 19 original songs and sketches performed by a six-piece cast.”

Valencia student Luana Fugulin, 21, AA in Theater says: “This is my first Orlando Fringe so it was quite overwhelming but I kind of thrive in chaos so I’ve really enjoyed my experience so far. Experiencing different theaters is a great way to explore art, explore art, and explore other people’s work. It gives people the opportunity to just try to be an amateur and I think that’s really important.”

Fugulin describes working with the Black Box in the Valencia Theater and on the Valencia main stage and how it was different to rehearse in a separate theater and then perform in another theater hours before the first show. Fugulin describes a “spider web of artists” all connected and interconnected. Valencia College has been credited as having “the experience of thinking fast and preparing fast”.

Smalltown USA in the gothic summer of 1956. A lonely, mismatched teenager named Laura forms a unique bond with a mysterious young woman named Carmilla, and their relationship secretly blossoms. But when Carmilla reveals a supernatural truth, Laura must confront her nightmarish reality and fight for what she believes in before she becomes a victim of society, or possibly whoever loves her most.” (Orlando-Fringe)
Fugulin serves as an understudy for Carmilla: An American Gothic by Lightup Shoebox & Phantom Funhouse. Undergraduates may be required to learn roles for the entire cast or just one, so managing rehearsals and lines is no small feat.

Fugulin will return to Valencia College next year to perform Kushner’s Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika and encourages everyone to come out and support not just local artists but school projects and performances.

Good luck and break a leg to everyone attending this year’s Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival.

For Valencia SAE events, visit their calendar.

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