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When the Capital Fringe Festival kicks off on July 12, one show will break with thousands of years of theater tradition. It's called BFF, which stands for "Best Friends Forever," and instead of trying to grab as many audience members as possible, this show is limited to exactly one.
Just ahead of show time, the ticketholder goes to the Fringe Box office on New York Avenue in Chinatown, and there he or she will find a guy holding a sign with their name on it.
Brian Feldman is the guy with the sign. He moved here about four months ago, and though he was a fixture in Orlando's performance art scene, BFF is his first show in D.C.
"I'm always loathe to say if it's a show or not," Feldman clarifies, "I'm always trying to find a different word to explain it because I don't want people's expectations to be like 'This wasn't a show... I don't even know what it is!'"
Back in Florida, Feldman was well known for his quirky, thought-provoking performances. His first major work, called "The Feldman Dynamic," had him and his family eating dinner on stage in front of a paying audience. He followed that up with a piece where he ate everything a restaurant offered on its menu, and another, where he didn't watch a movie for an entire year. There was a performance in which he tried to cry for 3 hours straight, and its sequel, in which he smiled 3 hours straight.
When a same-sex couple was refused a marriage license in February 2010, Feldman put an open call out to all Floridian women, looking for a wife. He went to city hall and married a complete stranger (the marriage was annulled after 11 months).
BFF is unlike anything Feldman's done before. "It's almost like friend speed dating," he says. "There's no plan. It's more about adventuring into the unknown and having a good time. We have 2 hours. Should we be friends?"
He has signed on for 50 performances, more than any Capital Fringe show ever. And for 50 brave souls willing to spend 2 hours with a complete stranger, Feldman says, anything can happen.
[Music: "Best Friend" by Harry Nillson from Television's Greatest Hits]