2024 Capital Fringe Preview: Bestseller ‘The Body Show’ is back

The 2022 debut proved that people want to hear others’ body stories.

By Mikala Jamison

Editor’s note: Tickets for the 2024 Capital Fringe Festival (July 11 to 21) are on sale now and the full performance schedule is live online. $15 tickets for all shows can be purchased directly at capitalfringe.org.  

In 2022 I staged my live storytelling show, The Body Show, for the first time at the Capital Fringe Festival. I’d participated in a few live storytelling shows myself, but the debut of The Body Show was the first time I’d created and produced my own show. I wrote in DC Theater Arts at the time:

“The Body Show storytellers are local people leading everyday lives, bravely taking the stage to share honest, raw stories about personal experiences and thoughts. Fringe is all about connection through art, and I believe audiences can connect with and reach greater understanding of their neighbors through storytelling.”

This turned out to hold true, and the show was a great success. It sold out every one of its four dates and was well-reviewed in this publication and others, and storytellers have gone on to continue collaborating and creating fantastic new work. I spoke with many audience members who told me the show was moving and helpful for them, too. Mission accomplished.

The Body Show wouldn’t have succeeded at all, though, without the backing of an organization like Capital Fringe, which gives first-time, amateur producers the chance to flex their creative muscles with little pressure. Fringe is about generosity — the organization doesn’t expect producers to have dozens (or any) accolades or a history of selling out venues to participate; audiences don’t expect Kennedy Center–level showmanship. What’s valued most in the Capital Fringe Festival is guts: the guts to try new work, take the stage, be a creator of art instead of only a consumer.

What I took away from my experience in 2022 — and why I’m coming back this year after taking a break last year — is that people really do crave a sense of connection with one another. We want to put down our phones and listen to other people talk to us in real life. We want vulnerability, honesty, and a stripped-down illustration of humanity. In 2022 I saw audience members howl with laughter and wipe away tears in equal measure. Storytellers found catharsis on the stage. I myself found a renewed sense of confidence in my ability to generate discussions about topics that interest me, like body image. Putting on a production like The Body Show takes a tremendous amount of work, but after my experience the first time I just couldn’t stay away. This stuff matters.

This year audiences will meet new storytellers like Jon Etherton, a man with dwarfism who learned to play the violin (with special adaptations) at age 68. Politico reporter Chelsea Cirruzzo will talk about finding her way back to her own body via a video game character. Sheri N. Denkensohn-Trott will share about developing a new sense of style after the accident that caused her to now use a wheelchair. They and other storytellers will all contribute to what I think is most important about this show: a sense of understanding of other people’s bodies, and a renewed sense of feeling better about your own.

The Body Show plays four times from July 13 to 21, 2024, at Cafritz Hall in the Edlavitch DCJCC. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here.

Mikala Jamison

Mikala Jamison is a writer and editor living in Arlington, Virginia. She publishes a newsletter called Body Type about eating disorder recovery through strength training, bodily change, and body image. She’s been a storyteller in live storytelling shows with Story District, Smut Slam, Perfect Liar’s Club, and Health’s Angels, and writes freelance articles occasionally for DCist, Washington City Paper, and others. Find her on Twitter @notjameson and on Instagram @_bodytype


17th annual Capital Fringe Festival tickets now on sale (news story, June 24, 2024)
2022 Capital Fringe Preview: ‘The Body Show’ (by Mikala Jamison, June 27, 2022)


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