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September 15, 2017

Fringe Encores Series Highlight: SH!IT I’M IN LOVE WITH YOU AGAIN


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This year marked the first time in 20 years that New York, was without its celebrated International Fringe Festival, that turned downtown Manhattan into a huge arts festival, with hundreds of performances from around the world.  With that many shows, there are bound to be really good ones and not so good ones.  About 12 years ago, Britt Lafield, decided to take the “Best of the Fest” for an extended run so that more people would get a chance to see something of note, they missed.   Dubbed the Fringe Encore Series, it was presented at the SoHo Playhouse (15 Vandam Street). Without a propped Fringe, Britt and SoHo Playhouse’s Darren Cole took the show on the road, literally, they traveled to eight festivals on four continents to find the “Best of the Fest” from around the world with a selection from the Adelaide, Brighton, Edinburgh, Winnipeg and Hollywood Fringe Festivals.

This year, Garden State Journal has looked over the offerings of the 16 shows to highlight a few that seemed noteworthy. Including SH!IT I’M IN LOVE WITH YOU AGAIN by Rachelle Elie, which will play at the SoHo Playhouse from September 21 – 30 (check the website for full schedule www.sohoplayhouse.com.)

GSJ:    How would you describe your show?

RACHELLE ELIE: It’s a fast-paced rumbustious, bawdy and endearing romp through the ups and downs of my life from wide-eyed innocence, through the wild years and into marriage and parenthood. It's all from my own life, starting as a clean living young Christian who suddenly realized that I'd missed out on dating the hottest guy on campus because I was “waiting for marriage”.  It's about love - finding it, smashing it up and then doing a rescue job when you realize that actually you do still love your partner, even the things you hate about him. The titles of the songs (written in partnership with UK musician Luke Jackson who provides live onstage accompaniment) give an idea of my joyful irreverence. They include Put Your Finger In Your VaginaI’m Breaking Up With JesusFuck First and Monogamy. The show pokes fun at everything from religion to the risks of going out for dinner before having sex. All in all it's a comic romp through life's adventures, disasters and embarrassing errors (lots of those) that I think will ring true for most people. I laugh at life and human failings – especially my own. The themes are familiar from the failures, idiocies, embarrassments and occasional moments of perfection in our own messy attempts at life.

GSJ:    What was the inspiration behind its creations?

RE: For the last 15 years I have been creating and touring one-woman comedy character shows such as Joe: The Perfect Man and Big Girls Don’t Cry. After years of marital distress, my obstetrician / gynecologist husband and I managed to rescue our love from the cliff’s edge, a recovery that inspired my own story. I realised I knew more about love and relationships than Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna and Katy Perry could ever know. So six years ago I decided to strip away the characters, get on stage in stand up clubs and find my own voice, a decision that led to Shit I’m in Love With You Again. The show is my life, including my time spent in Kenya where my husband worked in a hospital and I taught art to HIV positive adults shunned by society. Medical politics forced my husband to resign his post just as I, after making sacrifices and overcoming doubts to accompany him, found my niche and was making a real difference to people’s lives. The rest is history – a history laid bare for all to see on stage. 

GSJ:    Who should see this play and what do you hope they leave the theatre saying? 

RE: If you are 20, 50 or 80 you'll relate to the show. It's about the ups and downs of love and relationships so most people other than little kids will connect to the themes. I poke fun at everything and every age group will come out of it with something slightly different. I break up with Jesus, sleep with someone because they had "blue balls" and call my husband an "asshole" in therapy. Seniors have been through it already, 40 year olds might be smack in the middle of and young adults laugh seeing their future.

Near the end of the show, when we get more into the crisis of my relationship audiences get to see the worst of me. It is very intimate. I try to always come back to the light of it which is fun because things get crazy and then we laugh about how ugly things got. I had a friend who went through a nasty divorce and at the end of the show he was teary and said he wished he saw the show before they broke up. 

Another elderly overweight gentleman said he wished he had "fucked first then gone out to dinner"(lyrics to one of our songs) in his first marriage. Maybe it would of saved it!  I hope audiences will leave the show inspired to approach their relationships with sense of humour & greater tolerance.

GSJ:    Is this your first time performing or being presented in New York? 

RE: I participated in the FRIGID Festival in 2011 & 2012. FRIGID uses the lottery system to pick shows so I am excited to be presented this year for the first time by SOHO Playhouse.

GSJ:    Outside of your production is there anything you want to do or site you hope to take in while you are here? 

RE: I want to visit the High line, hang with all my relatives and walk across the Brooklyn bridge and have a picnic. 

GSJ:    What are you hoping that being part of the Fringe Encore Series will do for this project?

RE: This show has original songs, universal themes, laugh out loud comedy and moments of poignancy. I believe with a proper budget and creative backers it could develop into being a large Broadway production. My hope is that the right people see it, fall in love with it and make this dream happen.

GSJ:    To get into this festival you had to have excelled at another Fringe Festival – how was that experience overall and how important is it to theatre to have such festivals? 

RE: I started touring the Canadian Fringe circuit when my first son was a toddler in 2003. I got hooked on the Fringe and have since toured five one woman shows across the country. I understand the Canadian circuit and have reached a level now where I can actually make a profit. This year we attended the Edinburgh festival fringe. The Canadian circuit has a maximum of 300 productions and in Edinburgh this year there were 3300. We really stretched our potential in Edinburgh and grew as artists. There was fierce competition and the talent was unbelievable. What was most exciting is in festival where the average audience is 4 we had incredible ticket sales. That was from an amazing street team and really solid word of mouth.  Edinburgh is just a whole other level and we were excited to master one element of it.

GSJ:    What is up next for you?

RE: I want to get back to Edinburgh in 2018 with my show JOE: The Perfect Man. I also am comedienne in residence for the Alterna Savings CrackUp Comedy Festival in Ottawa which has the ultimate goal of de-stigmatizing mental illness. Gearing up for it’s fourteenth year I am excited to be organizing and hosting many of the shows for 2018. Thrilled to be working on a part two of my JOE show.

GSJ:    Please feel free to mention to add any question that we have missed that you think would be important for our audience to know. 

RE: More and more people need to laugh. As a comedian, my favourite part of my work is doing just that and I believe this show provides sell needed comic relief many of us are searching for. I hope audiences jump on board with me when I go into the good the bad and the raunchy experiences of life. My specialty is “being too much” and “going too far” I hope audiences will enjoy my unique brand of comedy developed over the last twenty years that involves storytelling, stand up, clown, characters and acting.  

SHIT I’M IN LOVE WITH YOU AGAIN by Rachelle Elie

SoHo Playhouse (15 Vandam Street)

Thu Sept 21 @ 9PM

Fri Sept 22 @ 7PM

Sat Sept 23 @ 7PM

Sun Sept 24 @ 5:30PM

Wed Sept 27 at 9PM

Thu Sept 28 @ 9PM

Fri Sept 29 @ 8PM

Sat Sept 30 @ 6PM

Tickets are $29-$49 and can be purchased by visiting www.sohoplayhouse.com.

Please check website for the most up to date schedule and other shows in the Fringe Encore Series. 

 

We have a show wed sept 27th at 9:00 

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