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FronteraFest is coming to town

All is relatively calm on the Austin theater scene over the holiday season. Only Zach Theatre is currently offering entertainment, with two shows playing: God of Carnage and The Santaland Diaries. Behind the scenes, however, actors, writers, and all the theater elves are preparing for the 19th annual FronteraFest, a performance smorgasbord that opens January 17 and runs nightly until February 18.

FronteraFest, co-produced by ScriptWorks, is comprised of the “Short Fringe” and the “Long Fringe.” Short Fringe performances last twenty-five minutes or less; four or five of these mini-shows will be included in each evening’s buffet. Long Fringe shows run no longer than ninety minutes.

Aerial acts, improvisation, music, dance, monologues:  they’re all available, all at your own risk. FronteraFest acts are booked first come, first served, not by audition. Less adventurous theatergoers may want to wait until Saturday nights to see the “Best of the Week” shows, selected by a juried panel and audience votes.

Complete festival menus are currently available on the website of Hyde Park Theatre, where the Short Fringe will play. A few shows that jump out at me: “Southie Pride Ezzah Given” (set in the Southie section of Boston during the mid-1970s); “Moby Dick: The Rock Opera”; and “I Almost Went Off On Kids…”, a play described asHow motherhood killed my idealism and ambition to improve the lives of children.”

Which shows are on your must-see list?