By Jim Gilles
Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 9/3/21 – After a year’s hiatus due to COVID, the Hollywood Fringe Festival was back this August 2021 with some impressive plays. I want to congratulate the award winners of this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival. They will have encore performances, September 3 through September 5. The winners are Veronica Carey Matthew’s TransSetter, TL Forsberg’s The Book That Won’t Close: Confessions of a Love Addict, and Kevin Neighbors’ Versatile. All three plays were directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson, who is a most amazing talent with stage productions. This is some of the best theatre you can see in Los Angeles at the present moment, so take advantage of an opportunity to experience it in person.
TransSetter. Winner of the Encore Producers Award. Written and performed by Veronica Carey Matthews. Directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson. After a series of self-inflicted tragedies, a Hollywood dreamer has to go back to basics and figure out some life truths. Out of all the questions to answer, the biggest (and most unexpected): is “he” actually a “she”? Veronica Carey Matthews navigates this show as she (Veronica) narrates the story of her previous identity (Carey) and his journey into transitioning. Having struggled for years on the Hollywood scene, Carey was starting to make some strides as an actor and a performer. He did a one-man show, he directed, he won some local awards…things were slowly moving upward until he got in his own way. As his life started to fall apart, Carey had to make some changes; and while change was in the air, an even bigger life “transition” was afoot. Encore performance at Studio/Stage, 520 N. Western Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90004. Friday, September 3, 2021, at 8:00 p.m. Reservations: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/7094
The Book That Won’t Close: Confessions of a Love Addict. Winner of the Solo Splash Award and the Best of Broadwater Award. Written and performed by TL Forsberg. Directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson. A deaf woman hires a non-binary transgender coach to walk her through love addiction and she learns to embrace her shame as part hearing and Deaf. A dark edgy comedy with original music and dance. The show includes an ASL Interpreter and is accessible to the d/Deaf. The show follows a bi-culturally fluid Deaf woman through a series of bad relationships until she meets a Transgender Orgasmic meditation coach who walks her through a self-contained rehab for LOVE ADDICTION to confront her unhealed trauma and shame around the parts of her that are both hearing and Deaf. Through her unique relationship with TREVA, a Trans person who embraces both masculine and feminine, our protagonist learns to claim her place as a sacred Hybrid on the path of healing and integration. Encore performance at Broadwater Black Box, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90038. Saturday, September 4 at 12:30 p.m. Reservations: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/6444
Versatile. Winner of the Best of Broadwater Award. Written and performed by Kevin Neighbors. Directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson. An intimate, multi-media, hip-hop, journey through intersectionality and a code-switching master class. Kevin wades through a political existence, with the help of ironic African wildlife guides. VERSATILE: stories from inside the closet of a half-black gay man, is a journey through intersectionality. Kevin, a mixed-Black, gay person adopted out of foster care, wades through a political existence. With the help of characterized African wildlife, Kevin winds through celebration and despondency, calling out the absurdity of race, racism, and homophobia. The story unfolds through, 20+ characters, digital media, education, and poetry; from police encounters, sexual discovery, systemic racism, shame, and pride, Kevin finds meaning in identity politics. At Broadwater Black Box. Sunday, September 5 at 6:00 p.m. Also available via a live-streaming option. Reservations: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/7118
Jessica Lynn Johnson is the winner of BEST NATIONAL SOLO ARTIST, Board Member & Submission Screening Panelist of the LA Women’s Theatre Festival, Director & Instructor at Whitefire Theatre, and Founder & CEO of solo theatre company SOARING SOLO LLC. Jessica has toured Internationally performing & teaching with her solo shows for over a decade. Johnson currently teaches a weekly FREE 1 person show development class in LA and does small group & private coaching through her company Soaring Solo LLC. As a Director & Developer, Johnson has co-created over 75 solo shows & has proudly taken home TOP OF FRINGE, multiple ENCORE PRODUCER AWARDS, & several other accolades over the years.