The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court gather for a group portrait in the East Conference Room at the Supreme Court Building in Washington, October 8, 2010. Seated from left to right in front row are: Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Standing from left to right in back row are: Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice Samuel Alito Jr., and Associate Justice Elena Kagan. REUTERS/Larry Downing

They’re a helluva squad!

After months of intense training and weeks of grueling haranguing, the latest iteration of the Fringe & Purge Actions News and Commentary Squad is about to explode into highly subjective two-fisted blogging action. OK, so fist-blogging is a bit of a stretch, but there will definitely be thumb-typing.

So who are these people, and what makes them think they’ve got any right to pass judgment on the 130-ish shows in this year’s Capital Fringe Festival lineup? Thank you for asking!

Some of us are year-round professional or semiprofessional critics and journalists.

A few of us are actual theatermakers.

A small handful of us even have shows in this year’s Fringe. (Every post from a 2012 Fringe artist will carry a disclaimer to that effect.)

The rest of us are at the very least enthusiastic and capable dilettantes. You may filter our opinions accordingly. You are an adult, after all. Probably.

You’ll find alphabetically sorted bios for each snowflake-unique member of our elite blogging force after the jump.

Brett Steven Abelman is a playwright and unusually reserved theater person with both too much and not enough time on his hands. DISCLOSURE: He is stage managing Cabaret XXX with Pinky Swear Productions in this year’s Capital Fringe Festival. This is the fifth time he has worked on a Fringe show, after four shows he contributed to as a playwright and that one he was in as a cross between Severus Snape and Rupert Giles. This is his third year with Fringe & Purge. You can find his Subjective Guide to Capital Fringe 2012 at his blog, babelwright, which pairs nicely with the subjective coverage he’ll be once again contributing to Fringe & Purge. Follow him at @babelwright.

Catherine Aselford has acted or directed at Cherry Red Productions, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Source Theatre, Horizons Theatre, the Center Company, New Works Theatre, Washington Theatre Wing, Notorious Women Productions, and the Georgetown Theatre Company. She appeared in John WatersA Dirty Shame, Cherry Red’s silent movie Trapped by the Mormons (Google it—-it’s real!), The West Wing, Unsolved Mysteries, America’s Most Wanted, and numerous television commercials. 2012 is the first year that Catherine has not directed or produced a show in the Capital Fringe Festival. Follow her at @CatherineA.

Alex Baca is the assistant editor of Washington City Paper. She keeps Fringe & Purge’s gears moving. Buy her a whiskey, or at least follow her at @alexbaca.

Lindsey Boyle likes food, theater, lolcats, concerts, improv, and theoretical social media, but only gets paid to do one of those things. This is her second year with Fringe & Purge. Follow her at @aria072.

Ian Buckwalter is blogging for the third time with the Action News & Commentary squad, having been made to understand that if he does five in a row, there’s a gold watch waiting for him. He looks forward to his cusp-of-retirement coverage of the 2014 Fringe, where the law of Lethal Weapon movies dictates that at some point during his last show, he’ll declare himself officially Too Old for This Shit before foiling a daring midplay kidnapping attempt. Until the time comes to put his life on the line for Fringe & Purge, he’ll satisfy his interest in noncritical extracurricular activities by looking for more opportunities to exercise his role as resident F&P Roadside Assistance Technician. When not roaming the streets of D.C. looking to help out stage managers with automotive difficulties, Ian spends the bulk of his spare time writing about film for NPR, The Atlantic, and Washingtonian. Follow him at @ianbuckwalter.

Sophia Bushong has done almost every job in theater at some point, but has a soft spot for the prop shop and acting. At 18, she was cast as the shortest Helena in the history of Shakespearean rom coms. Since then she’s played everything from a number of the Bard’s queens, to the Angel in America, to a stray Labradoodle named Sylvia. This is her third year with Fringe and Purge. Follow her at @sophialefay.

Jonathan L. Fischer is the managing editor of Washington City Paper. He’ll tell you a secret if you buy him a half-smoke at the gypsy tent. He is holding Fringe & Purge editor Chris Klimek’s family captive to force him to run this blog. But there’s one thing he didn’t count on: Klimek’s very particular set of skills, acquired over a long career. Skills that make him a nightmare for people like Jonathan L. Fischer, managing editor. But it’s really more the absence of skills that’s nightmarish. Like, Klimek doesn’t know Flash or…CSS Stylesheets? That’s a thing, right? Shit like that. Hopeless! Follow Fischer at @jon_fischer.

Brooke Hatfield is the design director of Washington City Paper. Her first theatrical experience was the role of “England” in a fourth-grade holiday pageant. Follow her @brookehatfield.

Stephanie Haven is an editorial intern at Washington City Paper. A sophomore at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., she enjoys making terrible puns about her Tufts of hair and jumbo supply of stockpiled food. Sure, her mom paid for ballet lessons through middle and high school. But she still prefers having rhythmically challenged solo dance parties while driving in the District (don’t think about the safety implications). Haven was a theater critic for The Cappies in high school and knows way too many musicals. You can find her trying to figure out Twitter at @stephaniehaven.

Chris Heller is an occasional theater critic—-but always a theater lover!—-who writes for the Wasington City Paper, Metro Weekly, NPR, and The Atlantic. He’s still dying to see a hip-hop musical about the life and times of Alexander Hamilton. This is his second year with Fringe & Purge. Follow him at @c_heller.

Derek Hills is a writer and dilettante from Washington, D.C., which is to say that he’s a novelty whore. Hills, distilled: IT manager by day, watered-down swinger by night, he loves Halloween as much as any straight man can. If you manage to miss his frequent appearances as a storyteller on multiple D.C.-area stages, you can find him in the sketch-comedy Apocalypse Picnic at this year’s Capital Fringe Festival. This is his third ride with the Fringe & Purge posse, and long may it run. Follow him at @dthills.

Chris Klimek is returning for his third year as the editor of Fringe & Purge. He was a 2011 AltWeekly Awards winner (2nd place—-sad trombone) for his theater criticism in the Washington City Paper and a 2009 NEA Institute Fellow. He is also a contributor to the Washington Post, NPR’s pop culture blog Monkey See, and other outlets. Every Fringe venue is too hot for him. Follow him at @ctklimek.

Rachel Manteuffel is excited about performing in her sixth Capital Fringe Festival and having opinions that matter (reviewing!) for the first time. DISCLOSURE: She’s performing in The Cloudism Project with Borealis Theater this Fringe. She writes for the Washington Post (including the PostScript blog) and thinks you’re really cool. Follow her at @RachelMan2.

Joseph Price is a Fringe & Purge newbie and grizzled festival veteran with credits spread across seven productions including 2009’s The Sin Show and 2011’s e-Geaux (beta). He also produced 2009’s Hopelessly Devoted, a little seen Catholic comedy that, combined with Baldacchino bar tabs, put him thousands of dollars in the red for all things Cap Fringe. Follow him at @josephprice.

Aaron Wiener is a reporter and editor who just returned from a year in Germany on a Fulbright reporting grant, writing for the Los Angeles Times and other publications. If he seems a little twitchy and keeps mumbling to himself about how you can’t get a decent Weißbier in this damn sweltering town, be patient with him—-he’s still in Berlin withdrawal. But rest assured, he’s a veteran F&Per, covering the festival for the fourth year straight. Follow him @aaronwiener.