A Dispatch from Weekend Two of the Charm City Fringe Festival

The second weekend of the Charm City Fringe Festival is in full swing! There are still lots of performances happening Saturday and Sunday, plus Fringe After Dark fun, so go see something!

Thanks to the walkability of the Bromo Arts District venues, I caught three shows at the fringe last night.

Crusading Mrs. Catt

Lisa Hayes, who brought Nurse! to the Charm City Fringe last year, returns with a solo show about women’s suffrage activist Carrie Chapman Catt. Succeeding fellow suffragist Susan B. Anthony as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, Catt’s skilled political strategy was integral to the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, giving women the vote. She went on to found the League of Women Voters. Yet, some are reluctant to celebrate her because of exclusionary and racist remarks she made. Hayes alternates characters and travels between the past and the present. We visit with Catt herself in 1920, on the eve of the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment; we also hear from a current-day actor portraying Catt, who addresses the controversies about the things Catt said. MAP Underground. Get tickets here.

Runaway Princess, A Hopeful Tale of Heroin, Hooking and Happiness

Mary Goggin’s one-woman show tells her true story, from her Irish Catholic upbringing through years of drug addiction and prostitution, to ultimately finding happiness. Goggin plays a variety of characters as she recounts her perilous path. This summer, Goggin took the show to the fringe in Galway, Ireland, where she won Best Actor. She also garnered awards for Best Storyteller, Solo Critics Choice, and Best Seller at the United Solo Festival 2018 in New York City. Here’s your chance to see what the buzz is about. Current Space. Get tickets here.

The Channeling of Ms. Sybby Grant

At the outbreak of the American Civil War, Dr. John Hanson Thomas, a Maryland legislator – and slaveholder – was arrested and imprisoned at Fort Warren because of his support for the Confederacy. This is not his story. This is the story of Ms. Sybby Grant, Thomas’s enslaved cook, and the household “staff” at 1 West Mount Vernon Place during the war.

The Channeling of Ms. Sybby Grant was inspired by a congenial December 6, 1861 letter from Ms. Grant to her imprisoned “master.” The letter, supplemented by extensive research by triple-threat/playwright Stevanie Williams, is the basis for this peek into the life of domestic slaves in Union-occupied Baltimore. Williams performs with seven fellow members of the Nu World Art Ensemble of WombWork Productions in this excellent piece. The acting, choreography, and singing – whoa, what beautiful singing – are top-notch. MAP Underground. Get tickets here.

I also ran into Ron Kipling Williams out supporting his fellow fringe artists. His show, How Many Orgasms Does It Take to Stop Dropping Bombs?, has performances this weekend at MAP 5th Floor. Get tickets here.

Finally, remember to vote for your favorite fringe show. Audience Choice Awards will be announced at the free Festival Closing Party, which starts this Sunday at Maryland Art Place at 7pm. Don’t miss it!


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