Thursday, June 30, 2016

Fringe Festival International in San Diego: Josephine (a musical about Josephine Baker) with Actress Tymisha Harris

    Actress/singer Tymisha Harris and me (Delores Fisher) pre-show.

Thanks to Kevin Patterson's dream of having the International Fringe Festival here in San Diego, locals and tourists alike have enjoyed performances by artists from intriguing edgy-fringe, to poignantly funny heart-warming family fringe

It's Fringe Festival International's fourth year in San Diego and global artists are performing for eleven fun filled exciting days. We talked about Kevin's hard work and and belief that San Diego, California would embrace the Fringe festival. This is his dream come true.  Kevin's his face glowed with joy. Standing quietly, we watched as the street filled with lines of audiences winding down the sidewalk waiting to see shows at the Geoffrey and the Spreckles Theater. And these are only two of the venues.

                                          10th San Diego International Fringe Fest Avenue Venue

Fringe Fest's program brochure is impressive again this year. And artists freely interact with the public at venues before and after their shows. Several publicity promos caught my eye. One was a photo with a woman in 1920s pose simply titled "JOSEPHINE" by Tymisha Harris, researched and workshopped by Tymisha Harris and Michael Marinaccio, I recognized the re-enacted pose instantly. Having spent several months researching the life and music of Josephine Baker a few years ago, when I saw the promo for this new show by Tymisha Harris
at the Spreckles Theater yesterday (Wednesday June29th), I decided to check it out. Little did I know that I would meet so many other performers.

On hand with promo and conversation was Jack Lukeman from "The King odf SOHO:And Other Stories,"
                                          Jack Lukeman from "The King of Soho"

Also, Randy Ross author of "One Man's global search for Love" stopped and chatted with me .We talked briefly about his show's premise and how love is indeed in this 21st century electronic age . . .a global search. I had engaging conversation with other author's, playwrights, performers, and audience members.

Having tweeted the Tuesday about attending the show, I hoped it would have a good San Diego turnout.  It was Standing room only right before house lights went dark.

I had met Tymisha Harris up in the Fringe Cafe before the show. Knowing my process before I perform, I did not want to interrupt her flow.  It was evident that she was getting into character..
(I typically hideout backstage, in the dressing room, or in a green room.) One woman shows are notoriously hard to do.  However, when asked to do a brief photo op, she smilingly and graciously consented. We chatted briefly, then I went downstairs to join the audience. 

                                           Delores Fisher and Tymisha Harris pre-show

We were ushered into onstage seating at the Spreckles. Yes, this is a cabaret show, make up table stage right, a microphone center stage and a dressing/partition area stage left. It is an intimate show.

When house lights came up Tymisha indeed was no longer "the 21st century actress." She had transformed into Josephine Baker and seemed bigger than life onstage.  I won't spoil the show for those planning to see it.Although "a work in progress" "Josephine has many breath taking acting and musical moments throughout the show. Its costuming is very workable and suggestive of the decades covering Baker's life. She adds an authenticity to some of Josephine Baker's usually "invisibilized" struggles with race, gender, marriage, and what many performers face . . .aging.

Tymisha Harris breathes humor into audience interaction, breaking the fourth wall several times. Her dancing is magnificent to watch especially the feather-fan dance. She brings a vivaciousness to the legendary "Banana Dance." Her vocals are more than strong. (Enjoyed the song choices, however, a little rethinking for some of the contexts is still needed). Harris's voice embraces each song's lyrics  nuancing them with a strength and yet, a hint of  . . .vulnerability. Watch Baker's videos on Youtube. You will often see glimpses of such essence.  At show end, Wednesday evening's audience erupted into a spontaneous standing ovation. 

                           Tymisha Harris and Delores Fisher at the Fringe Lounge pre "Josephine"

Ah, will not say anymore. When it comes to your city or country, go see it. Decide for yourself.

Although still in process, Tymisha Harris has a hit, "Josephine" is a show of historic implications.
Delores Fisher,

1 comment:

  1. Yes! Yes! Brava! Wasn't she wonderful! Stunning performance and terrific show! Great review