EDINBURGH — A John Malkovich-directed solo play starring Julian Sands and perfs from Simon Callow and Steven Berkoff are among the atractions on tap for the 2011 outing of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, running Aug. 5-29.
The Fringe, already the world’s largest event of its kind, will be even larger this year. Fest topper Kath Mainland announced the three-week August lineup will feature 2,542 shows, up 89 over 2010 and nearly 500 more than the 2009 slate. Recent figures show the Fringe generates £142 million ($232 million) for the local economy.
Gotham companies heading to the Scottish capital include the TEAM with “Mission Drift,” a postmodern exploration of American capitalism, and Steven Fales with “Confessions of a Mormon Boy.” From Austin, Texas, Palindrome Theater is bringing its “Hedda Gabler” and from L.A., Mortimer Olive Productions is bringing comedy “Jawbone of an Ass.”
Among the bigger names, screen actor Berkoff stars for the first time as Creon in his own adaptation of “Oedipus”; Callow, star of “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” appears in the U.K. preem of “Tuesdays at Tescos” translated from the French play “Mardi a Monoprix”; and Marc Almond, singer with 1980s electrop band Soft Cell, stars in “Ten Plagues,” a music-theater preem by Mark Ravenhill and Conor Mitchell. Malkovich directs Sands in “A Celebration of Harold Pinter,” based on Sands’ personal friendship with scribe Pinter.
From Canada, Alon Nashman will appear in “Alphonse,” a one-man play by French-Canadian playwright Wajdi Mouawad, whose “Incendies” was nominated for an Oscar this year, while Edmonton’s Wishbone Theater is bringing another Quebecois play, “Bashir Lazhar,” by Evelyne de la Cheneliere. Toronto’s Volcano will present “White Rabbit Red Rabbit,” an Iranian monologue by Nassim Soleimanpour that will be read by a different actor every perf, while Bluemouth stages participatory event “Dance Marathon,” based on the grueling terp contests of the Depression.
On the international front, Belgian company Ontroerend Goed will present “Audience,” a piece of theatrical deconstruction in which the audience itself is put under the spotlight. Recent Obie-winner the Belarus Free Theater will present an as-yet-untitled work in progress, while “Jasmine Gwangju,” from South Korea, is about the first stirrings of the democratization movement in 1980.
As usual, there is a surfeit of eccentricity. A young British company, FellSwoop, has adapted the Sylvian Chomet animated feature “The Triplets of Belleville” for the stage; Gary Roden Prods. will present “The Tour Guide” in a traveling open-top vintage bus; and “Hotel Medea,” previously seen at London’s Arcola, will run for six hours through the night. Other shows make use of iPads and Skype.