Because the Capital Fringe Festival is all about what’s new, experimental and, sometimes, mildly insane, I’m asking a few Fringe newcomers to talk more about their productions and why you should see them.
Today is opening day of Capital Fringe — and time for the conclusion of this series looking at new Fringe productions. The last production we’re profiling is “ Twisted: Greeting Card Moments Gone Bad! ,” a comedy penned and performed by a real greeting-card designer and storyteller, Tom Tiding. How does a greeting card translate into a 60-minute production? I asked Tiding to explain.
What’s your show about?
“Twisted” is a funny love letter to flawed lives. It’s all true stories about how our milestones (marriage, parenthood, first love) don’t work out quite like they do in greeting cards. In “Twisted,” pretty much no one does their job right -- there’s jaw-droppingly bad parenting, friends who only want to sleep with you, and really unwise romance. [“It’s] all about finding humor in the huge gap between the ideal world contained in greeting cards and the real world, where people are pretty much [expletive].
Comedy, mystery, drama, musical, or clown show?
Comedy. Like any one-man show, there are alcoholic parents, drugs, sex and stolen babies, but there is a lot of comedy in really tough moments.
Are you really a designer of greeting cards? If so, what’s that like?
I am! And I love it -- each of the cards tries to subvert the genre with a “twist” ... I always thought that the cards you find in CVS were just awful and sometimes unintentionally funny, so I started making my own for my family. Over time, that grew into a small business, and Twisted Tidings is now carried at around 70 stores in the U.S. [including Pulp in D.C.]
What made you decide to create a Fringe show?
People at the card shops that carry Twisted Tidings would sometimes ask how I got so cynical. And I’d tell the stories behind each card, and I realized the stories were funny, too. I started watching some of D.C.’s storytellers — at SpeakeasyDC, or Vijai Nathan, who is also at the Fringe this year [with “Good Girls Don’t, But Indian Girls Do”] — and got the idea of doing a show. Vijai, in particular, really encouraged me because her stories can be fantastically vulgar but still hit home -- that’s the area that “Twisted” is trying to hit.
You’re performing in the Baldacchino Gypsy Tent Bar. How are you going to stay cool? Any advice for your audience?
Well, I meant to start working out so that I could just take my clothes off for the show, but that’s not going so well, so the clothes stay on.
I think we're going to print the program on cardboard fans. And the great thing about the venue is that there’s a bar right there -- I recommend frosty drinks for everyone.