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 sixth installment for the 2023 season, we’re traveling into a post-apocalyptic future with Rat Man Happy Place!
Orlando Decoded was honored and thrilled to be invited to attend the opening night performance of this remarkable and interactive one-man show. THANK YOU, Bruce Ryan Costella, for having us out!
What is Orlando Fringe?
Rat Man Happy Place 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 Bruce Ryan Costella
An award-winning performer and the creator of last year’s Fringe favorite Spooky and Gay, Bruce Ryan Costella is known for his solo shows and innovative performance art. Visit his website for detailed information about his exceptional productions, national tours and upcoming projects. And don’t forget to follow him on Instagram for all the latest updates.
Rat Man Happy Place
A sardonic love letter to theme park culture and the unique communities that form around its fandoms, Rat Man Happy Place is an imaginative tour through a post-apocalyptic Magic Kingdom. Playing an emboldened survivor of a catastrophic world event, Bruce Ryan Costella describes both the current, damaged state of his titular Happy Place as well as his distorted, childhood memories of its pre-tragedy glamour. Bruce’s witty and hilarious observations of the weird and wonderful place that is Disney World are worth the ticket price alone, but the true heart of the show is actually found in a much deeper message.
You can’t help but be touched by Bruce’s character’s obvious love and affection for this all but destroyed theme park. His earnest and passionate descriptions of the attraction reveal a heartwarming picture of human resilience. Here is a boy who lost everything, and instead of giving up – he found hope and belonging within the gates this exceptional theme park. How many of us, faced with excruciating loss or debilitating uncertainties, have found our healing the same way?
A visit to the happiest ruins on Earth using only garbage and imagination. RAT MAN HAPPY PLACE is equal parts theme park satire, storytelling and interactive children’s theatre for weird adults.
As a Bring Your Own Venue (BYOV) show, Rat Man Happy Place does NOT take place on the Fringe main campus. Instead you can find this show at Hamburger Mary’s, an American-style restaurant in Downtown Orlando. Please be aware that you will be watching this production at a table in the main dining room, and plan to enjoy one of Hamburger Mary’s delicious menu items during the show!
Freaky Thoughts: Rat Man Happy Place
As an Orlando local and avid theme park fan, I adored Rat Man Happy Place! The clever theme park observations, hilarious jokes, and audience participation (with post-apocalyptic props!) were so incredibly fun. And I found the more serious themes to be uplifting and heartwarming. We all experience hardship, but the human ability to find beauty, comfort, and healing in unexpected places is definitely something to celebrate.
Whether you are a theme park nerd or a “normie,” you can appreciate Rat Man Happy Place‘s Disney jokes and human existence themes. But this show is especially important for those of us who found our chosen families beyond the turnstiles of an Orlando attraction. I’ve seen many shows geared towards theme park people, but no other production has truly captured what it means to be a part of this extraordinary community. Don’t miss Rat Man Happy Place!
Tickets for Rat Man Happy Place
Rat Man Happy Place runs select dates and times until May 28. To see a complete listing of available shows 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 2023 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
- A 2023 Fringe Festival button (and show ticket) is required to visit any performance. You can purchase your button online.
- There is paid parking available at a nearby garage.
- Remember that Rat Man Happy Place is a BYOV show taking place at the Downtown Orlando Hamburger Mary’s location. You can find this venue at 110 W Church St near the Fringe ArtSpace.
- Arrive hungry! Hamburger Mary’s is a working restaurant offering burgers, salads, and other American-style food.