Are you sitting down? You might want to. This summer’s Capital Fringe Festival is instituting a huge change, one that festival president Julianne Brienza worries is going to cause much confusion and angst among fans of Washington’s annual theater extravaganza: In the past, you had to purchase both a Fringe button and a ticket to get into a play. Now, all you need is the ticket.
Button collectors, don’t fret: You can still buy a Fringe Festival medallion for $5, which you can flash for discounts around the Southwest Waterfront neighborhood. (Or you can buy a Fringe ticket package, which includes a button in the deal.)
“We didn’t want to get rid of the buttons entirely, since they’ve become such an iconic part of the festival,” Brienza says. “We’ve been doing the buttons since 2008,” Capital Fringe’s second year.
Outside of the button policy change, this year’s festival is a lot like last year’s: It’s largely taking place in and around the Southwest Waterfront, and most of the stages are in neighborhood churches. As always, the (mostly) unjuried theater festival is open to anyone with about $1,000 and a dream.
Here are some likely standouts from this year’s grab bag of performances.
Arena Stage, 1101 Sixth St. SW; Tue. though July 21.
Former “Simpsons” writer Mike Reiss and local clown Nick Newlin (aka Nicolo Whimsey) created this family-friendly sendup of “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” which many consider to be the Bard’s worst play — the one in which a dog steals the show. The comedy’s play-within-a-play setup allows for plenty of Shakespearean metacommentary.
Arena Stage, 1101 Sixth St. SW; Tue. through July 28.
In this one-woman show, charismatic sex educator Twanna A. Hines challenges audiences to embrace pleasure amid the chaos and anxiety of modern life. A gifted storyteller, Hines will discuss the ways that everyday concerns as well as the world’s woes can conspire to bring you down, and the importance of recapturing your joie de vivre.
701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; Tue. through July 17.
Comic and tour guide Matt Dundas combines his passions for a 75-minute walking tour that weaves funny stories from his life with historical tidbits about Pennsylvania Avenue and the District. During the half-mile trek, you can expect to hear plenty of anti-Trump zingers.
St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, 555 Water St. SW; Tue. through July 27.
This semi-autobiographical play by Katie Nixon explores the topic of recovering from sexual assault through dance, music and audience participation. The play is bigger than its one-woman cast, as the main character (played by Nixon) chats with her friends, family and therapist via their prerecorded dialogues.
996 Maine Ave. SW; July 13-17.
Known for projecting protest messages on the Trump International Hotel, artist Robin Bell is creating a throwback to the days of video arcades. A ticket buys an hour of play on sports, puzzle and adventure arcade games — basically anything without guns. Players are grouped into teams that compete against one another for points; the winning players from each session earn two free Fringe tickets apiece.