Orlando Fringe is back with a wide variety of ticketed performances, a free outdoor stage, an eclectic visual art gallery, and kids’ activities. While there’s simply too much Fringe to cover in a single article, we are doing a series of posts about this incredible Orlando event. In this fourth installment, we’ll explore a show about growing up, owning your feelings, and navigating the supernatural – introducing Lightup Shoebox and Phantom Funhouse’s Carmilla: An American Gothic!
We were THRILLED to be invited to see this spooky yet thought-provoking show. THANK YOU, Lightup Shoebox and Orlando Fringe, for having us out!
What is Orlando Fringe?
Carmilla: An American Gothic is playing at Orlando Fringe, a two-week theater festival focused on unjuried and uncensored works of performance art. While similar festivals exist all over the world, Orlando Fringe is the longest running event of its kind within the United States. Fringe Festivals are generally known for featuring alternative or experimental pieces of art, so you really never know what you’re going to find!
About Lightup Shoebox and Phantom Funhouse
At Lightup Shoebox and Phantom Funhouse, we believe the future of art is about collaboration, authentic representation and sometimes giving up the power and privilege. We’re still working on doing it 100% right but if you enjoy the product today, just know it came from those goals and true collaboration between all involved.
Dedicated to providing a safe and expansive space for stories from marginalized communities, Lightup Shoebox’s previous work includes a documentary called “Oh Boy: Poverty, Polyamory, and All My Poor Decisions in Between.” You can watch a preview of the film here.
Phantom Funhouse is a mixed media company celebrating the excitement of fantasy and horror in storytelling. In addition to Carmilla: An American Gothic, they are working on two creepy short films. For more about Phantom Funhouse and to stay updated on their current projects, follow their Facebook page!
Carmilla: An American Gothic
Performing in the Blue Venue (Orlando Shakes Theater), Carmilla: An American Gothic is a 60-minute production about courage, acceptance, and maybe a bit of supernatural activity. Described in the show program as “Classic Universal Horror meets lesbian coming-of-age drama,” the play is set in 1956 Gilbert, Arizona – a time when homosexuality was largely criminalized in the United States.
Smalltown USA in the gothic summer of 1956. A lonely, misfit teenager named Laura forms a unique bond with a mysterious young woman named Carmilla, and their relationship blossoms in secrecy. But when Carmilla reveals a supernatural truth, Laura must face her nightmarish reality and fight for what she believes in before becoming a victim of society or possibly the ones she loves most.
Carmilla: An American Gothic utilizes a small but mighty cast to tell the story of a girl (Laura) struggling to balance her sense of self with society’s expectations. Through her disturbing and almost paranormal dreams plus the appearance of a mysterious stranger (Carmilla), Laura is forced to examine her truest desires and finally make a life-changing choice.
True to its description, Carmilla: An American Gothic is a delightful mash-up of themes. Balancing its important coming out tale with its spooky vibes, Carmilla asks the audience some pretty insightful questions. What do we truly want in our lives? What can we live without? Are fabled monsters simply misunderstood? And what will it take to avoid falling into our personal version of “stasis?”
Freaky Thoughts: Carmilla An American Gothic
As someone who appreciates the dark and spooky, this style was an incredibly beautiful way to approach such a tender topic. It’s heartbreaking to watch Laura hide her feelings from her father, her friends, and even her own mind. And something about her wrestling with these truths in creepy, paranormal dreams seemed so gritty and realistic. We’ve all had to come to terms with something about our lives – even when that something makes us vulnerable to our families, to our friends, or to society. Carmilla: An American Gothic is a perfect depiction of that process.
Beyond the inherent struggle and supernatural overtones, however, Carmilla’s main character must make an important choice. Will she bend to society’s expectations or follow the truest desires of her heart? Her answer (which I won’t give away), will define a lifetime. Will she continue to grow into a confident, accomplished woman; or will she disappear into another person’s dream?
Carmilla: An American Gothic is an awesome combination of inspiring tale, spooky story, and important representation. If you enjoy your inclusive art with a side of creepy vibes, you’ll adore this play. I highly recommend checking it out!
Tickets for Carmilla: An American Gothic
Carmilla: An American Gothic runs on select dates and times until May 29. To see a complete listing of available showtimes and to buy your ticket visit Orlando Fringe’s website.
Because 100% of the base ticket price is given directly to the respective artists, you will also need to purchase a reusable 2022 Fringe Festival button. Buttons are $10 and grant access to all the performances at this year’s event (along with an individually purchased show ticket). No matter how many productions you plan to see, you only need one button per person.
Know Before You Go
- To attend a showing of Carmilla: An American Gothic, you will need to purchase both a show ticket and Fringe Button. You can buy both of these on the Orlando Fringe website.
- Parking at Orlando Fringe can be tricky. Make sure you arrive early to allow plenty of time to locate a suitable spot and travel to the show location.
- Carmilla: An American Gothic is located inside the Orlando Shakes Theater.