Monologues are a hard sell, unless they’re being delivered by somebody famous. Spending a long time with just one person is a lot to ask of an audience. That’s why monologues are a perfect fit for Capital Fringe Festival, which specializes in giving new kids a chance — and which tends to enforce shorter running times. Here are our favorite monologues from this year’s lineup.
‘A Guide to Dancing Naked’
Some titles conceal a show’s true intention. “A Guide to Dancing Naked” pretty much lays it out: This one-woman show is a dance lesson for the audience. (Truth be told, no one gets naked.) In the Gearbox (1021 Seventh St. NW), actress Brynn Tucker shares her personal philosophies about getting in touch with one’s body. Our favorite part? Tucker invites her audience to a dance party after the show, so they can put to use the lessons they’ve learned.
‘Under the Lintel’
Not all the monologists here are newbies. Pat O’Brien is a veteran actor (he played Mr. Dewey on “Saved by the Bell”) who has won awards at Fringe festivals elsewhere with “Under the Lintel” (playing in the Goethe Institut at 812 Seventh St. NW). It’s the gripping tale of an overdue library book. No, really! A librarian (O’Brien) finds a 123-years-overdue library book and sets out to find the person who failed to return it, a journey that takes him around the world and through a monologue that touches on history, myth and religion.
‘Fish Outta Water’
Ron Litman’s “DC Trash,” about his experiences as a local trash collector, was a highlight of last year’s Fringe. This year, his “Fish Outta Water” at the Warehouse (645 New York Ave. NW) is also autobiographical — a prequel to “DC Trash” (also playing) in which he follows his ex-wife to Wisconsin after she leaves with their two kids.
‘STATUS — A Social Media Experiment’
Monologues performed by their authors can be a kind of onstage therapy. Kathryn Elizabeth Kelly’s “STATUS — A Social Media Experiment,” at Caos on F (923 F St. NW) falls into this category. After getting out of a long relationship, Kelly decided to “say yes to everything” and force herself to be an extrovert (documenting it all on Facebook). Her voice is clear and witty, and her experiences have a certain sheen: She crashes fancy parties, scales the social ladder and does all those things you would totally do if your couch weren’t so comfortable.
Though “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs: The Musical,” at Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church (900 Massachusetts Ave. NW), isn’t a one-man show, it is based on a famous monologue. The earnest, tuneful show, by local composer Tim Guillot, takes five actors through 70 minutes of soft rock, while mostly ignoring the allegations of fabrication that made the original monologue infamous.