ORLANDO – The Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival kicked off on Tuesday 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.
Opening tonight is a show that puts the focus on … theme park rides. If that doesn’t cry out, “Orlando,” what show does?
Bryan Jager, a theme park performer, created the show “The Spielers,” which he calls “an irreverent theme park parody adventure that’s sort of like if ‘The Goonies’ went for a ride on the Jungle Cruise.”
To create this show, Bryan tapped into his network of theme park entertainer friends, and tonight audiences will discover what they came up with.
“Our show features a number of incredible artists from all corners of the theme park world, and we cannot wait to bring this experience to you,” Bryan noted.
Freeline Media wanted to know more from Bryan about his theme park adventures.
Freeline Media: A theme park parody … in Orlando. You’re a brave dude.
Bryan Jager: Ha ha ha, I never thought of it that way. I’ve been in the Orlando entertainment community for almost three years now and the one thing I love about it is that no one takes themselves too seriously. We all do the same ten or so roles at the same five parks, why not enjoy our time together?
FM: Are you a big theme park fan, and if so, how does that lend itself to creating a show that parodies theme park rides.
Bryan: I’ve always been a huge theme park nerd. There’s just something about that total sensory immersion you don’t get anywhere else. And I think in order to create a show like this that lampoons such beloved places, you need to share that love as well. Plus, the familiarity gives you more material to pull from, ha ha.
FM: How did the 80s movie “The Goonies” serve as a kind of inspiration?
Bryan: We really loved the community nature of the adventure: a group of people with different strengths coming together to do something extraordinary. It’s a value at the core of all theme park work and it couldn’t be a better fit for our show!
FM: Who are some of the artists from the theme park world performing in your show, and how did you recruit them?
Bryan: We have artists from all over the Orlando theme park area, every role, every theme park … save maybe Gatorland, ha ha ha. I’m lucky enough to call many of them my co-workers over the years, and it’s exciting to have this diverse and vibrant group of artists coming together.
FM: After Fringe, are you taking “The Spielers” out on the road?
Bryan: We don’t have any plans right now, but we’re certainly not opposed to a future life for “Spielers”! Bring on the world tour! Lol!
“The Spielers” will be performed at the Gold Venue on the following dates:
* Tonight at 9:45 p.m.
* Saturday, May 20 at 10:15 p.m.
* Wednesday, May 24 at 10:15 p.m.
* Saturday, May 27 at 6 p.m.
For tickets visit Orlando Fringe.
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright and author of the book “Bloody Rabbit”. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.