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Genealogies of a Crime

[whitespace] A Fringe Fest artist looks for San Francisco solace after her role in a notorious murder case

By Kerry Reid

One reason Fringe Festival performer Elisa DeCarlo may be looking forward to the comfort of San Francisco is that she's had a particularly trying year, even for one accustomed to the rigors of low-budget theater life. In a well-publicized case this spring, DeCarlo blew the whistle on Larry Froistad Jr., a member of an online support group for problem drinkers who confessed to murdering his 5-year-old daughter by setting fire to their house. The venomous backlash she encountered from some members of the group who were more angry at her for turning in "one of their own" than they were at Froistad for homicide (he's since pleaded guilty) prompted DeCarlo to write an article for New York magazine in May titled "Murder, She Read."

"I did a whole piece once where one of the characters was a child molester," DeCarlo told me, "and I thought I knew bad. But being confronted by pure evil made me realize I'm an amateur." The event may find its way into a performance piece eventually, though DeCarlo notes, "One of my first thoughts was that people would think I went into show biz just to capitalize on this experience, without realizing that I've been busting my hump for eight years."

She adds, "One thing that made my life more difficult was that I have been dealing with the media as a writer and performer for years, and I do know how to handle myself in interviews. So they [the members of the online support group] see it as foul manipulation and planning beforehand, when it was really just that I had been interviewed a lot in the past. I don't enjoy the fight. It's emotionally been very, very draining. The timing was really bad for preparing a new show."

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From the September 7-20, 1998 issue of the Metropolitan.

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