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Capital Fringe is moving: How’s the packing going?

Julianne Brienza, who runs Capital Fringe, must dodge zombie hunters as she tries to pack up.

Moving is never easy, but Julianne Brienza has some special challenges as she attempts to relocate Capital Fringe, the theater nonprofit she runs. The zombie hunters, for instance.

As part of an interactive play called “DC Dead,” theatergoers with Nerf guns are hunting actors dressed as zombies while Brienza sorts through nine year’s worth of accumulated stuff.

“I keep having to yell, ‘Do not shoot me! I am not a zombie,’” Brienza says.

Capital Fringe has occupied a ramshackle building downtown since 2008, and it’s moving to a former auto body shop at 1358 Florida Ave. NE, which the group bought for $4.5 million last week. The new space is perfect for building black box theaters, but Brienza is most excited about the lack of vermin.

“The whole goal was that there would be no leaks and no rats,” she says. “We have to be really careful to clean everything off really well so that we don’t bring cockroach eggs with us.”

As for what Brienza is bringing, you might be surprised. Capital Fringe doesn’t collect props and costumes — those are the purview of the theater companies that participate in the group’s annual Fringe Festival. Her interest is more in fixtures and hardware. That makes sense for a scrappy group known for creating performance spaces on the fly.

“We have a lot of theaters to build, and not a lot of money to do it with,” she says.

Wall tiles
The Italian restaurant that used to occupy the Fringe building covered its kitchen with mismatched tiles. Brienza is working on peeling them off and boxing them up. “Why would someone put those colors together? I love them.” she says.

Doors
The metal fire doors throughout the building are “there for the taking,” says Brienza, since the entire structure is being torn down. She’s especially excited to cart along this customized metal door with sliding screen inlays. “They don’t make doors like this anymore,” she says.

Radiators
Brienza is going to make old, red radiators into a backsplash for the new Capital Fringe bar.

Wine bottles
Brienza found these dusty old wine bottles in the attic. “They might be antiques,” she says. “The restaurant was here for 50 years.”

Concrete heads
The Italian restaurant used to have a fountain out front. Now all that’s left are the concrete heads of a man and a horse. “Maybe they will end up on another fountain in the new place,” she says.

Tall chairs
“These chairs are actually from the Waffle Shop that used to be downtown,” says Brienza. “We found them in the building and took them.” They will be used for seating at Capital Fringe’s future bar.

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