HOLLYWOOD (KABC) — The Hollywood Fringe Festival will once again host what amounts to hundreds of shows celebrating artistic freedom in all sorts of ways.
Theaters, churches, clubs, parks, restaurants are all transforming into stages for artists who are producing diverse work.
Kira Wallace is just one of them. The 18-year-old is putting on a one-woman show she calls “Unwrapped: Life after Giftedness.”
She said being gifted has not always been easy.
“At the school I went to, ‘The School for the Gifted,’ we never said that word because what you find, if you go to one of these schools, is that everyone at every other school hates you because you introduce yourself and they just go, ‘Oh, you’re one of the gifted.’ You have to spend all of your social energy trying to live down that pretentious reputation,” said Wallace.
Wallace was a straight-A student in high school and got a perfect score on her SAT. She once put together her own version of a hovercraft.
Now, she’s putting college on hold to perform a dark comedy she wrote herself dealing with connection and loss, uncertainty and humanity.
“I am scared of a lot of things and so I have been forced to be brave for most of my life because I had social anxiety,” she said. “Going to school was scary and I did it every day. When you’re new to a city and you’re doing a live theater performance, it’s hard to convince people they should come see it. So The Fringe gives us the opportunity to go support each other.”
Just like last year, and years before that, there are plenty of performers in the mix, working in a safe space for artistic risk.
“Anybody with a vision can come into our community and as long as they fit our community ethos, which is anti-racist, it is empowering women and it is empowering our queer community, then they can say whatever they want on stage,” said Ellen Boudreau Den Herder, the co-executive director of the Hollywood Fringe Festival.
“This year, we have hundreds of shows, well over a thousand individual performances, 20 venue partners are involved,” said co-executive director Louis Neville. “It’s a chance to show your work and to do without waiting for someone else to give you an opportunity.”
“I planned on having someone else perform it for me and then I couldn’t find Jenna Ortega so, here I am!” laughed Wallace.
The festival is in previews now, with the official opening night on Wednesday, June 7.
Visit the Hollywood Fringe Festival’s website for more information on shows and show times.