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‘Not for the faint of heart’: The Hartford Fringe Festival celebrates bold new works, performances

The cast of The Anthropologists’ No Pants in Tucson.
Provided Photograph
Jody Christopherson

It all started with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival back in the late 1940s when edgier, avant-garde acts that were excluded from the Edinburgh International Festival started their own event in smaller venues on the outskirts (the “fringe”) of the Scottish capital. Since then, fringe festivals have popped up all over the world, including the Hartford Fringe Festival.

And much like its Scottish big brother, the Hartford Fringe Festival gives bold new works the chance to be presented before the public.

“The fringe festival is not for the faint of heart,” said Jeffrey Kagan-McCann, founder of the Hartford Fringe Festival. “It’s being bold and creative and out there. It may not necessarily be what you see at some of the typical theaters. So, it’s giving that person a chance to really create something that is unique and is their own.”

This year’s festival features 21 acts in virtually every genre — music, dance, theater, comedy, poetry, opera and performance art. Several of the acts are from Connecticut, including “The Fatherhood Manologues,” a series of monologues written and performed by Hartford-area fathers.

“I’m all about changing narratives,” said Abdul-Rahmaan Muhammad, who conceived the show. “I want people to be able to see Black men fully, not only when we die, not only when we’re mad, not only when we are in handcuffs, but when we are being our genuine true selves, when we are talking about the love of our lives, like our children.”

The Hartford Fringe Festival runs every day through Oct. 30 at the Carriage House Theater in Hartford.

Ray Hardman is Connecticut Public’s Arts and Culture Reporter. He is the host of CPTV’s Emmy-nominated original series Where Art Thou? Listeners to Connecticut Public Radio may know Ray as the local voice of Morning Edition, and later of All Things Considered.

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