With titles involving knives, spaghetti, girl mathletes and a bus full of memories, SF State’s The Fringe gathers unique plays penned by students and promises a fun close to the run of productions this semester.
The Fringe is an annual spring festival comprised of an eclectic mix of plays written by undergraduate and graduate students in the creative writing and theatre arts departments.
The festival first premiered around 1994, according to faculty adviser Roy Conboy, who created The Fringe off of an idea that began with staged readings and graduated to something bigger to offer students.
“We’re not just presenting plays,” Conboy said. “We’re really trying to give students the chance to work on the next phase of playwriting.”
The Fringe features seven unique plays, divided into two programs. The plays range anywhere from five to 40 minutes and spotlight various topics, from a girl and her chef’s knife to a journey through a re-imagined Africa to an all-girls mathletes team forced to let a boy join.
The latter, titled “Much Ado About Mathletes,” is a 30-minute comedy written by Rachel Bublitz, a graduate in the creative writing department. Bublitz created the play as her entry into a contest asking for comedies written by women, but knew she wanted her piece to stand out.
“There’s so many stories, especially about high school girls, that are just about them being obsessed with boys and there’s nothing really else that goes on,” Bublitz said. “I wanted to write a story with an all-girls mathletes team and then a boy is forced to join the team and that’s where the conflict comes in.”
Bublitz has worked on her play since the fall through workshops during which Conboy said the plays in the festival are examined more closely and fleshed out.
He added that because The Fringe is not funded, a selection committee chose the best plays submitted by students that would also be easiest to produce. Each play is given actors, directors and production crew members, with many of them working in several of the plays.
Another one of these unique plays is “The African Spaghetti,” written by Casey Robbins, an undergraduate in the theatre arts department. The play follows the perspectives and dynamics of an early 20th century British family on a safari in Africa as they attempt to make it through the next 24 hours.
The 40-minute comedy is more of an interactive piece, according to Robbins, as it will allow the audience to be creative with the story and its setting.
“I intentionally set the play (and) called for a bare stage so the audience is using their imagination constantly throughout the play to fill in the holes,” Robbins said.
Program one of The Fringe, which includes the plays “Much Ado About Mathletes,” “Knife Skills,” “Inay’s Wedding Dress” and “The Night Bus,” runs at 7 p.m. May 13 and 15 and at 2 p.m. May 17 in Little Theatre.
Program two, which includes the plays “Turn Your Head Away,” “My Time Has Come” and “The African Spaghetti,” runs at 7 p.m. May 14 and 16 and at 5 p.m. May 17 in Little Theatre.
Tickets are sold through the theatre box office or online.