Artist TJ Dawe hopes to take Fringe audiences on a “Roller Coaster” ride

Orlando Fringe

Playwright and actor TJ Dawe is bringing his solo show “Roller Coaster” to the Orlando Fringe Festival in May. (Photos by Diane Smithers. )


ORLANDO – The Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival kicks off at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16 at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center, and runs through May 29. This year the nearly three-week long festival will feature the largest line-up of shows in its history.
One of the shows this year is writer/performer TJ Dawe’s solo show “Roller Coaster,” a four-part monologue about numerous subjects, including how Harry Potter and other pop culture stories function as mythology, some thoughts on why societies go to war (courtesy of author Barbara Ehrenreich) and even some musings on President Trump.
As TJ put it, “Roller Coaster’s inception happened in the line-up to the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, last May.”
He also plans to have a few things to say about his history with the city of Orlando, and how he’s been a Fringe veteran since 2001.
Freeline Media reached out to TJ to learn more about his show. Continue reading

“La Reina Yolanda,” a one-woman show by Leesa Castaneda, on its way to Fringe

Orlando Fringe

“La Reina Yolanda” is a one-woman show by Leesa Castaneda that will be performed at the Orlando Fringe Festival next month.

ORLANDO – The Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival kicks off at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16 at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center, and runs through May 29. This year the nearly three-week long festival will feature the largest line-up of shows in its history.
The shows this year will include “La Reina Yolanda,” a one-woman show written and performed by Leesa Castaneda, a veteran actress in the Orlando theater scene. She’s one of the founders of the Greater Orlando Actors Theatre, or GOAT.
“La Reina Yolanda” will chronicle one woman’s life, from her childhood to her eventual battle with Alzheimer’s. As Leesa noted, “Sometimes the greatest journeys are the ones in our own mind.”
The play will focus on Yolanda, a fierce Latina whose life becomes beset by tragedy and hardship. To cope, she leans on her sharp mind — which becomes considerably more difficult as her mind becomes ravaged by Alzheimer’s.
Yolanda faces some agonizing choices: the fight for her mind, sense of self and the family she’s fought hard to protect.
Freeline Media reached out to Leesa to talk about the play, which was directed by her husband, veteran director and actor Paul Castaneda. Continue reading

Some thoughts on the late, great Roland Topor

Roland Topor

April 16 is the anniversary of the death of the artist and writer Roland Topor.

It was on April 16 1997, when the French artist Roland Topor died of a cerebral hemorrhage. He was 59 years old, sadly far too young for the world to lose such a gifted artist, one who created so many memorable works.
Today, there are still exhibits from Roland’s artwork in his native France, like Exposition : Topor s’illustre, and exhibits in other parts of Europe as well. Roland’s work is not as well known in the United States, except perhaps among fans of horror and science fiction, who still fondly enjoy his 1964 novel “Le Locataire Chimerique” (which was published in the U.S. and U.K. in 1966 as “The Tenant,” and adapted into a 1976 movie by director Roman Polanski) and his script and artwork for the animated 1973 sci fi film “Fantastic Planet.” Those are his two most enduring artistic legacies, although his work also includes the horrific pitch black satirical novel “Joko’s Anniversary” and his hilarious performance as Renfield in Werner Herzog’s 1979 movie “Nosferatu The Vampire.”
And there are some happy signs that Roland’s work will continue to find new audiences, including here in the States. Continue reading

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