Out of The Loop Festival Starts Tomorrow: Our Top 5 Picks For Must-See Shows

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I was starting to feel like Out of the Loop Fringe Festival would never arrive. The ten day, highly experimental outsider theater festival has been sitting on the timeline's horizon; I nearly constructed an advent calendar to make the waiting more bearable. Starting tomorrow, theater-goers will pour into WaterTower's multiple stages by the hundreds to absorb as much off-kilter talent as possible.

With 20 different acts jockeying for your affection, we thought we'd lend a hand and guide you with a short list of must-see productions.

1.) One Man Lord Of The Rings
You, too, shall pass over to the Main Stage for headliner Charles Ross. He's gone and squished up all three Rings films -- complete with characters, sound effects and theme music -- into a 70 minute production. Is he a schizophrenic? Nope, he's just awesome. Ross did the same thing with Star Wars at Loop in 2009, causing everyone in the audience's light sabers to collectively activate.

We have a free pair of tickets for Ross' Sunday afternoon show available until 3 p.m. today (Wednesday, March 1st), so act fast and hit this link to enter the contest.

Read our full Q&A with Charles Ross here.

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2.) International Falls
Waco's own Thomas Ward wrote and co-stars in this 90 minute dark comedy. In Falls, Ward, a hard-touring stand-up comic, wakes up in a cross-your-heart hotel after a one-night stand. The post-coital couple (Thomas and real-life wife, Sherry Jo Ward) share more than pancakes as they dissect comedic theory, fart jokes and religion. What happens after the morning after? You'll have to visit the Main Stage to find out.
Get the full story on International Falls and Thomas Ward's previous incarnation as a stand-up comic here.

3.) Diana Sheehan presents Midway

There's a time in your life when what you've grown accustomed to vanishes and your life enters Act Two. New Yorker turned Dallas resident Diana Sheehan experienced preciesly that, but rather than mourning the dusty path she had already walked she found herself unpredictably invigorated about her new adventures. The period proved to be a time of flourishing creativity and abundant opportunities; the experience proved so vibrant that it could only be told in song. See Sheehan's two-act cabaret on the Stone Cottage Stage, but first get the full story on Midway here.

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It's mime time!
4.) Bill Bowers in Beyond Words
Miming -- as an art form -- has nearly vanished. Like a lost language still spoken only by a few senior tribesmen, the art of telling a story without uttering a word is nearly a defunct variety of theater. Bowers keeps the practice alive and vibrant while telling the story of a boy's journey to adulthood. Learn to push the noisy chaos of life to the side and feel comfortable in silence during Bowers' Main Stage production of Beyond Words, and then pop in on Saturday afternoon for his miming workshop. Brush up on Bowers' back-story with this interview -- yes, when off stage, he speaks.

5.) Outcry Theatre's Dark Play, or Stories for Boys
This Catfish-style tale focuses on two teenage boys, the internet and one whopper of a lie. Equal parts romantic and gullible, Nick desperately seeks a human connection. Enter scene, Adam. Posing as Nick's perfect soul mate, Adam lures in the lost lover with a false persona. God damn modern teenage life is complicated, but we'll have to swing by Studio Theatre to see how Nick picks the lie apart and if he's able to land on his feet. Check out the show's Facebook page here.

There are so many productions to see and a couple of ways to see them. Either purchase tickets for individual shows and workshops a la carte, or immerse yourself in the best of outsider theater with an unlimited Loop festival pass. Get your tickets as well as the entire line-up here.


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