Hollywood Hoffman Wins Fringe First for JesusDate: 17 August 2001
Hollywood actor Philip Seymour Hoffman (pictured) receives praise for his directorial efforts with the second round of the prestigious Fringe First Awards, announced in Edinburgh today. Hoffman's production of Jesus Hopped the A Train is one of five winners of the awards presented weekly during the Edinburgh Fringe, the world's largest arts festival.
Written by Stephen Adly Guirgis, Jesus Hopped the A Train was a hit off-Broadway and receives its European premiere at this year's festival. The story follows two convicted murderers who, while in protective custody, struggle with who they are and what they've done.
The Scotsman, which judges the Fringe Firsts, called Jesus Hopped the A Train a "loud, abrasive, upfront" play that mixes "roaring high-pressure dialogue and quieter, watching monologues". Director Hoffman is best known as a scene-stealing character actor in Hollywood films such as Boogie Nights and Almost Famous.
Other winners of the current crop of Fringe First winners are: 78th Street Theatre Lab's Man in the Flying Lawnchair, inspired by a real-life incident and written from improvisations by the company; Chris O'Connell's Raw, performed by Theatre Absolute; Unlimited Theatre's Neutrino; and David Mark Thomson's dark comedy set in a pawn shop, Moving Object, performed by Brunton Theatre Company.
The Fringe First Awards, presented by The Scotsman newspaper in conjunction with the Fringe Society, are the festival's most prestigious recognition for drama. They were established in 1973 when there was concern that the Fringe was not attracting the right quantity and quality of shows. The awards are announced weekly during the festival. There is no fixed number given and the only requirement for consideration is that the work must be new - having had no fewer than six performances in the UK, prior to the Fringe.
The Edinburgh Fringe continues to 27 August. The 2001 event features 666 companies presenting 1,462 shows from 50 different countries.
- by Terri Paddock