Now 12 years old, our very own Fringe Festival is an awfully big boy, likely shopping in the department store’s “husky” section. A sizable production, the Fringe is one of the largest multi-arts festivals in North America. This summer’s incarnation, produced by Elena K. Holy and the Present Company, features 201 shows staged in 19 venues, mainly clustered in the West Village. This year’s offerings concern feminist icons, serpent kings, Alexis de Tocqueville, Amish gunmen, Anaïs Nin, Sylvia Plath, Southern slaves—and that’s just the plays beginning with “A.” (The only play beginning with “Z” is about a murderer intent on fashioning a zombie. Sounds brainy.) As ever, volunteering opportunities abound, and tickets sell for a trim $15.

Aug. 8-24, 2008