RI playwright/performer returns home with ‘Pretty Bird’ premier at Providence Fringe Festival

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This year’s Providence Fringe Festival is an artistic homecoming for playwright/performer Lily Mathews and her California-based theater company, as the new play “Pretty Bird” debuts to audiences in Mathews’ home state July 24-27.

Mathews, who grew up in South Kingstown and studied at Brown University, has spent the last seven years in the San Francisco Bay Area working in the creative field. She co-founded Dugway Proving Ground Theater with her partner and fellow Brown alumnus, Adam Kotin, and has since staged work with the performance ensemble throughout Northern California. “Pretty Bird,” a new play written by and starring Mathews, will be the first time she and director Kotin have performed in Rhode Island since 2012. 

“Pretty Bird” follows the story of Lane (played by Mathews), a woman with a secret and a blue ribbon Belgian hen, in a dark comedic look at the perils of fame, ambition and the pursuit of perfection. Shannon DeJong, a northern California-based actress and performance artist, plays multiple roles, including a mysterious synchronized swimming champion and a hopeless Dutch dandy.

“Lily’s play is not a typical narrative; it bobs and weaves through space and time, in and out of characters’ minds, making some very bold choices with the use of movement and sound,” says Kotin. “We are excited to share this work at the Providence Fringe Festival and see the work of other artists from across the country.”

Rhode Island audiences will have three chances to see “Pretty Bird” at the WaterFire Arts Center Down Studio at 475 Valley St. in Providence. The opening performance for night owls takes place Wednesday at 10 p.m., with two additional performances, Thursday, July 25 at 8:30 p.m. and Saturday, July 27 at 4 p.m. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased with cash at the door or in advance on the Providence Fringe Festival website. The show runs approximately 45 minutes without intermission.

As an additional part of FringePVD’s week of festivities, Mathews and DeJong will be holding pop-up synchronized swimming aerobic sessions at various festival venues. For more information visit fringepvd.org/

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