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Ruby Slipper Fringe Festival shows Triad’s girl power

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by Lenise Willis

Almost a year in the making, the Ruby Slipper Fringe Festival is finally here. The festival, kicked off and sponsored by Paper Lantern Theatre Company, is free for both artists and audiences and showcases more than 60 female writers, playwrights, dancers, choreographers, filmmakers, musicians and even craftswomen, over the next two weeks.

“As a woman who knows how to make my own work and how to make it happen—I mean I started my own theatre company—I get to wake up everyday and know that I have some place to go where I can express myself creatively,” said Amy da Luz, co-founder of PLTC and co-lead of the festival. “But that’s not a given for most women. So when we brought this opportunity where women could share a new, original or even in-development piece of work, the response was overwhelming.”

“It suddenly became this wonderful motivation for women because they now had a place where they knew they could share (their work). These are experienced artists, and these are women who are sharing for the first time.”

Da Luz said that the keyword for the festival is “inclusive.” Performers range from 15 to 65, and include a wide range of experience levels. Each piece is new and original, and after every production the audience will have a chance to give feedback to the artist. Amy da Luz and other festival organizers and arts professionals will also provide feedback and advice for the artists, in order to help them grow creatively.

Performances are free and located at the Mount Castle Forum at the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts, 252 N. Spruce St., Winston-Salem. Da Luz asks that the audience be supportive, positive and embrace their part in helping these artists through the creative process.

Ruby Slipper Fringe Festival Schedule:

THURSDAY, FEB. 18

Short Film Showcase 7–9 pm This film segment includes a collection of seven short films, including “Jar of Dreams” by Thatcher Johnson- Welden, “Slow Down to the Speed of Virginia” by Jacqueline Delibes, “TITANIA” by Lisa Stock, “Sisareni” by Renee Fisher, “You Wouldn’t Expect” by Marilynn Barner Anselmi, “Tree Hugger” by Kira Bursky and “Pillow Talk” by Meghan Cowen.

Crying in My Collard Greens 9–10 pm Writer Naomi Faw reads her creative nonfiction stories about her everyday experiences of life in the South.

FRIDAY, FEB. 19

Poetry/Spoken Word/Storytelling Showcase 7–9 pm Listen to a collection of four new literary pieces, including “The Bread, The Butter, The Blood” by Julie Kolischak, “Ink from My Soul” by Charlene Hunt, “Mr. Sears” by Terri Ingalls and “I Knew Her As Tati” by Linda Donnell.

‘Adam-mah,’ dance production, 9–10 pm Created by Alban Elved Dance Company, this unusual and up-close sensory experience blurs the lines between performers and audiences. The extremely physical dance theatre uses creative choreography, music, improvisation and a creative scenic design to create a full experience that you can see, hear, touch and smell.

SATURDAY, FEB. 20

Theatre Showcase 1–3 pm Watch three new and developing theatre pieces, including “Cracked Grain”, a short play by Carol Torian, an excerpt from the play, “The Waning Hours” by Carol Torian and “Black n Blue Boys/Broken Men” performed by Stephanie Lindley.

Poetry/Spoken Word/Storytelling Showcase 3-5 pm This literary presentation includes two readings by Dianne Liuzzi Hagan, “My Crazy Mama” by Millie Hiatt and “The Memphis Lyrics” by Ashley Roach-Freiman and Heather Dobbins.

Interdisciplinary Showcase 5–7 pm Mixing music, visual art and spoken word, the evening presentation includes “The Pull” by Claire Reboussin with photography by Elizabeth MacMillan, original music by Shelley Segal, “Strange Fruit Redux” by Afrika Brown and “SU CY TI KON CHUS” by Cornelia Beatrice Matthews Webster.

Blancaflor: Feminism thru Fairytale 8:30–9:15 pm This storytelling session features writer Kali Ferguson unraveling a fairytale about a clever black sorceress.

Caden 9:15–10:15 pm Come watch Serena Cates’ new theatre piece, which started as an exploration in a nonverbal character and quickly morphed into an investigation of the various ways we communicate, miscommunicate, or fail to communicate in our lives.

SUNDAY, FEB. 21

Little Bird in the Night 2–4 pm Written and performed by Suzy McCalley, this interdisciplinary original solo play highlights the writer’s childhood growing up in a “sex cult” in Brazil and is relatable to anyone who may have suffered abuse. The production delves into the intricacies of “The Children of God,” a group comprised primarily of hippies in the 60s who believed they were creating a better world.

Violation Withdrawal 4–5 pm Cassandra Cotta, from 5 th Digit Dance, presents her dance production that moves through and explores the disappearance of private moments in our society, which is now filled with headphones, smartphones and YouTube videos, text messages, emails and notifications.

Collaborative Poetry 5–6 pm Witness a unique community performance of synergy, collaborative writing and collective art, by Lalenja Harrington.

Dance Showcase 7–8:15 pm Witness original dance choreography in a showcase of several budding artists, including “naghihiwalay” by Laura Barber, “Re-imagining Kim Flynn’s Kiss” by Kathryn Ullom and Caroline Daniel, “Intima(see)/It Goes Without Saying” by Grain and Salt, “Reign” by Kat J. Sullivan, “Trio C Presents: ‘Self-Titled Trio C’, by Trio C” and “See-Line Woman” by Royal Expressions Contemporary Ballet.

Three in a Row (Storytelling) 6–7 pm Written and performed by Leah T. Keys, the three-act story highlights the hilarious and powerful journey of a curious girl to a courageous woman. !

LENISE WILLIS, a graduate from UNC Chapel Hill’s journalism school, has experience in acting and ballet, and has been covering live performances since 2010.

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