This weekend at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center is the Fifth Annual International Fort Worth Fringe Festival. As part of the event, Elaine Liner stars in the one-woman show Sweater Curse: A Yarn About Love. For the local premiere that “weaves bitterly funny tales of Liner’s obsession with knitting, great knitters in great lit, and lots of unraveled romances,” the star provided a little Q&A.
What is “fringe theater”?
The term started in Edinburgh, Scotland, at their first big arts festival after World War II. It was created to bring tourists and artists back to the Scottish capital. Nine small theater companies performed on the fringes of the actual festival, and the name stuck. Now, there are fringe festivals all over the world, with Edinburgh’s being the largest. I’ve appeared in lots of them and have done the Edinburgh Fringe twice.
What’s your show about?
Mostly my lifelong obsession with knitting, but the title refers to an old wives’ tale that says you should never knit a sweater for the one you love. They’ll walk out on you before you finish the sweater. It’s been true in my life. It took a long time to find someone sweater-worthy, it turns out, but I take lots of funny little diversions in the show into myths and legends about knitters and great knitters in literature and movies — Bette Davis knits in lots of her movies in the 1940s. I’ve just added a mention of Olympic diver Tom Daley, who knitted poolside throughout the games. He really raised the image of men who knit, by the way. When I did the show in Edinburgh, I saw men in kilts knitting in pubs. It was kind of a major turn-on.
Why do fringe festivals?
As a playwright and solo artist, I’m looking for ways to get my stuff in front of audiences and having control over it. Fringe performers are artists/entrepreneurs. We have to do our own fundraising, make all the travel plans, find lodging, be stage managers, know our tech stuff, and handle marketing and promotion. I like the solo aspect of it, though it does make the cast parties a little lonely.
Anything new in your show for the Fort Worth run?
Yes! Having spent 18 months at home in East Dallas doing nothing but knitting and crocheting and watching Netflix, I’m giving away everything I made. For your $8 ticket, you get to plunder the goods. Hats, sweaters, shawls, gloves, bags. Piles of it. All made by me. A fuzzy little comedy with fuzzy souvenirs afterward.
Sweater Curse: A Yarn About Love