Women Tell Their Tales at the Hollywood Fringe Festival

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The Hollywood Fringe Festival runs through June 25, and I have been immersed in its hodgepodge glorious quirkiness. Of its 300 shows, almost half (130) are solo performances, because the Fringe Festival organizers make it easy and cost-effective for anyone with a story and a Venmo account to sign up.

Of the 130 solo shows at the Fringe, 37% are by men and nonbinary/trans performers. The remaining 63% are by women. And the majority of those are personal stories. That’s a lot of women getting their truth out there. Certain directors, like Juliette Jeffers and Carol Becker, excel at taking the joy of discovery to a higher level.

Those shows where the woman doesn’t do it all (many serve as writer, director, stage manager and performer for their shows) have overwhelmingly female crews. Female directors and stage managers make it all happen and take it to a higher level.

I’ve seen five one-woman shows and plan to see another four or five before Fringe winds down. Highly recommended are:

Getting There, in which cancer survivor Rebecca O’Brien re-enacts miraculously healing—and hilarious—encounters with strangers riding the bus to and from Cedars-Sinai for treatments.

Sister from Another Planet, about a lifelong search for the answer to a question posed in childhood: Are you a boy or a girl? (Spirit guides and Shirley MacLaine helped guide writer/performer Nancy Beverly to the answer.)

Sonnets from Suburbia, a reflection on modern life and past demons by the Three Tomatoes’ own Lady Penelope, Penny Peyser.

Patient 13, by cancer survivor Gail Thomas, the 13th patient in an FDA study of psychedelics who reminds us to participate fully in life, to trust and let go. (She also leaves you wondering where you can get your hands on some psilocybin.)

Dorothy Parker, a day in the life of an unappreciated legend who despairs of being known only as the with who tossed off, “Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses.”

Among the other themes (with a sample for each):

Finding Oneself (Boy Crazy Psycho Slut)

Male validation (M.A.D.D About the Boy)

Mental health (5150: A Musical)

Discrimination (Befok, or the Desperate Attempt to Impress Iñárritu)

Overcoming bullying (The Allure of Thug Life)

Overcoming sexual violence (Brave Face by Hoo Hah House)

Eating Disorders (Does Anyone Know Who This Is?)

Religion, usually not in a positive way (Title Pending, Rotten Apple)

Retribution (Attack of the 36 Triple G Woman)

Career (I Feel the NeedNursing Is My Life)

Enlightenment (Messianic Moments and Cosmic Conversations)

Weddings (Lebanese Debutante)

Birth (My Womb)

World Peace (World Peace)

There are also tributes to other women (Katy Perry, Joni Mitchell, Jackie O. and the 14 women of Ladies First).

Jump in, find the show(s) that’s right for you and bask in the female empowerment of the Hollywood Fringe Festival before it ends on June 25!



  • Laura Foti Cohen

    Laura Foti Cohen has been reviewing theatre prolifically for five years at the Larchmont Buzz, a local Hancock Park-area website and email newsletter. She’s a playwright herself; her plays have been produced by NEO Ensemble Theatre. She's a new member of Theatre West.

1 Response

  1. Jo Dellapina says:

    Thanks so much for the shout out! Carol Becker directed my show, Boy Crazy Psycho Slut, and I agree she is terrific. I have two more performances left, hit me up for a comp!

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