The Outer Limits

Shuffle into one of the four cozy rooms of the Exit Theatre come September, beer and complimentary bowl of pretzels in hand, and you're likely to be tickled pink by a San Francisco Fringe Festival show. For more than a decade, the fest has been developing keen audiences for theater companies and solo performers -- and because it's all about the artists, not the fancy trimmings or million-dollar sets, thousands flock to the shows and chew the fat with the players. What's great, and simultaneously scary, about the Fringe Fest is that it's an uncurated extravaganza open to all kinds of performers, from classicists to your run-of-the-mill melodrama queen. Tonight, fans can get an abbreviated preview at A Sneak Peek at the Fringe. The topics are all over the place, but the common denominator appears to be a confessional element. Solo performer Stevie Lee Saxon brings to life his Korean Badass, a swaggering Steve McQueen wannabe who courageously weathers cultural stereotypes, knocked-up girlfriends, and disapproving dads. Terri Tate's Shopping as a Spiritual Path takes on a variety of similarly meaty topics: being a cancer survivor, dealing with divorce, and spotting an ace bargain, to name a few. Drama buffs tired of cavernous stages and pompous ushers will appreciate the performances, which are as kaleidoscopic as they are unembellished.

 
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