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Don’t be a noob: Let Washington City Paper’s team of Capital Fringe reviewers advise you on what essential items to bring to the experimental-theater scrum.
Suspension of disbelief
Zany. Insane. Silly. Absurd. These adjectives show up a lot in descriptions of Fringe performances. Indeed, some of this season’s shows revolve around wacky plot lines—involving puppets and aliens, for example—and some other plot lines exist only in theory. Just grin and roll with it. —Valerie Paschall
You’ll need these especially if you’re seeing We Happy Few’s production of Romeo and Juliet. You never know how involved the audience is going to get in these fight scenes, and it’s not worth losing an eye to find out.
A Bingo card
Let’s play Fringe Bingo! Nudity? References to an eating disorder? Overly personal childhood story? Musical theater? Mocking other Fringe shows? BINGO! —Lindsey Boyle
Personal oxygen supply
The Baldacchino gets a’stiflin’ as temperatures rise and the tent fills with crowds of Fringe-goers who like to breathe almost as much as you do. Bring your own O2, ‘cause relying on ventilation is for suckers. —Ryan S. Taylor
An OCD spreadsheet
Your spreadsheet of shows to see, mapped by location, date, time, genre, and level of interest. People really have these. If you were smart, you would, too. —LB
A sweater, or wrap, or infinity scarf
The backless dress you bought at Urban Outfitters for $20 looks awesome and is perfect for the Baldacchino Gypsy Tent, but not the air-conditioned comforts of the Studio Theatre. —Rebecca J. Ritzel
Portable ice pack
Because it’s still hot in that tent, even with the backless dress. —RJR
Or better yet, a totally frou-frou snap case of soap slices. By 11 p.m., those bathroom dispensers at Fort Fringe are empty. —RJR
Because soap’s not the only thing the bathrooms are out of. —RJR
A sign for your Fringe button
Consider bringing a big, blaring sign that says “YES I HAVE A BUTTON.” But chances are, volunteers will ask to see your button anyway. —LB
Fringe Festival button
…Which unfortunately you may forget, because you were obsessing over everything else on this list. —RJR
Illustrations by Jandos Rothstein