| Theater |

Space 55 Performs at New York Fringe Festival

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

Like many thespians, the actors and actresses of Phoenix's Space 55 dreamed of one day making a splash amongst the bright lights of the New York City theatre scene. 

They can now cross the accomplishment off their respective bucket lists, as the Valley theatre troupe traveled this month to the Big Apple to perform at the current New York International Fringe Festival, earning some rave reviews in the process.

Space 55 staged their rendition of The Unhappiness Plays by Greg Kotis (the Tony-winning playwright behind the renowned Urinetown) this past weekend at the IATI Theater in NYC's East Village

Shawna Franks, Space 55's artist director, says the troupe feels fortunate to have been chosen to perform at the renowned arts festival, which is the largest of its kind in North America and attracts more than 75,000 theatregoers every year. Specializing in "new and rarely seen work," the annual festival features more than 180 different productions each year has been a launching pad for new stars and new works since it launched back in 1997.

"We've felt really lucky to have been invited, period, since thousands of plays are submitted every year to the festival," Franks says. "It's pretty prestigious, and pretty lucky, that we got in."

She adds that the members of Space 55 certainly known the material, as they performed The Unhappiness Plays numerous times earlier this year at their venue, which is located at Seventh Street and McKinley. Practice made near-perfect, obviously, as one critic who reviewed the Space 55's shows in NYC described the troupe's performance of Kotis' surrealist and existentialist dark comedy as "superb."

"It's cool that a Phoenix artists are being seen and exposed in such a huge market," Franks says. "Phoenix isn't really seen as a place where there are big artists and big shows, so its nice showing that perception isn't true and we can hang with the best of them."

Franks says that their shows at the IATI Theater have all been "near sellouts." She's hoping for a similar turnout for their final performances of the festival tonight.

Performing at a big theatrical festival in New York takes some getting used to, she says, especially since thing move rather quickly.

"They have so many shows moving in and out during the festival, so we've really had to pare down our production with fewer props and costumes. We've had just 15 minutes to load in and out," she says. "It's a very quick and dirty theatre where it's essentially just the actors and the words, which is really what theatre is all about."

Follow Jackalope Ranch on Facebook and Twitter.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.