Heidi Van

Hannah Copeland / KCUR 89.3

Thirty-five local playwrights will capture the mood of Kansas City's present and future at the city's first One-Minute Play Festival this weekend on City Stage at Union Station.

Founded in New York by producing artistic director Dominic D'Andrea, one-minute play festivals have spread all over the country, "with the goal of promoting the spirit of radical inclusion by representing local cultures of playwrights of different age, gender, race, cultures, and points of career," according to the festival's website.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Heidi Van says that Kansas City needs to send original, locally created theater out into the world every bit as much as it needs a baseball team. That means experimenting on stage, taking risks, re-tooling scenes and sometimes failing. In front of an audience. Get a window into the world of experimental theater in Kansas City. 

Guests:

Julie Denesha / KCUR

As curator of The Fishtank, an evolving performance space in the Crossroads Arts District, Heidi Van has helped ignite a growing interest in experimental theater. She's produced shows in the building's front windows with the audience in the street, performed a play in a lingerie shop around the corner, and tweaked the art of clowning.

In this month's installment of Director's Cuts, Heidi Van talks about how her avant-garde sensibility might influence her first directing job at The Coterie: a production of Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat

Laura Spencer / KCUR

This year’s KC Fringe Festival includes dance, theater, visual arts, spoken word, fashion, and film; in 11 days, there are just over 360 shows in 19 venues.

Artists often describe Fringe as an opportunity to take on new roles: to direct, to write, to produce. But sometimes, it's also a chance to have some fun.

Connecting to the Kansas City theater community

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On some occasions, a play calls out to be staged somewhere other than a theater. For example, last year, a production of William Inge's "Bus Stop,"  which is set in a diner, was performed in one in Lee's Summit.  This weekend, an Arthur Miller one-act about a man shopping for intimate apparel for his mistress will be mounted in a Crossroads boutique that specializes in that kind of women's wear.

Steve Walker/KCUR

Since 2008, the Charlotte Street Foundation has recognized creative Kansas Citians who, within their various genres, consistently produce original and innovative work that often falls outside the mainstream. 

Charlotte Street Foundation recently announced two artists, Heidi Van and Patrick Alonzo Conway, were selected as this year's 2012 Generative Performing Artists Award Fellows.

When President Obama announced two weeks ago that the United States would be withdrawing troops from Iraq by the end of the year, the other top news trending that week was that Lindsay Lohan would be posing for Playboy. The fact that the latter story garnered as much attention as the former didn't escape a trio of local theater artists who are returning to The Fishtank with a new play featuring the fictional troubled celebrity whose Kansas City debut last winter left her desperate for more attention.

photo: Charles Stonewall

EXTENDED RUN: August 1 - 3, American Heartland Theatre. At performance spaces throughout the city, over 50 events make up this year's KC Fringe Festival, a celebration of the off-beat, nontraditional, and avant-garde.

When people think of stories about mortal men who create life from inanimate objects, Frankenstein and Pinocchio come immediately to mind. Less well-known is the 1870 ballet, Coppelia, about a creator of dolls who come to life.