Definition of Man Is the Surprise Hit of the 2017 Hollywood Fringe Awards
In spite of having only had three shows before voting for the Fringe community awards began, the two-person physical theatre show Definition of Man garnered four nominations and two wins at this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival Awards, as well as a two day extension at their venue through the Encore Producers’ Award.
The show was nominated for the sponsored awards of Ripest Show by Cherry Poppins and was a finalist in the Inkwell Theater’s Playwright’s Promise Award, and was nominated by popular vote within the Fringe community for Best in Dance & Physical Theatre and the Fringe First Award for Best World Premiere. Sponsored awards are determined by a panel of judges according to the criteria the independent entities who sponsor the awards have defined. The Inkwell Playwright’s Promise for excellence in playwrighting chose a group of 5 finalists from a pool of 60 original plays this year. The Ripest Show award was hand picked by six producers from the troupe Cherry Poppins under the
A sexier, more violent Waiting for Godot, “Definition of Man” is a post-modern decreation myth that, drawing from Kenneth Burke’s essay of the same name, investigates the human drive to communicate and the inevitable breakdown that results from the inherent incompleteness of language. This two-person piece of physical theater shifts from high-level intellectual discourse to abstracted speech to casual conversation, demonstrating the full range of possibilities and impossibilities we encounter as “the symbol-using animal.” Co-creators Jason Rosario and Nikki Muller workshopped the piece by combining personal narratives, academic texts and Russian partner movement to explore issues of identity, race, gender performance and communicative breakdown. “Definition of Man” advanced Muller, the playwright, to one of 24 semi-finalists out of 374 submissions in The Playwrights Realm’s 2016-2017 Writing Fellows Program.
In the abstracted setting of a burnt-out, post-apocalyptic ruin, its two cha
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