2011 Fringe Festival Day 4: A Lazy Sunday with Trivia
Scaling back our ambitious plans yet again, Carole and I decide to go to one early, recommended, show, use an open slot for lunch, see the later acrobatic show, do our usual Sunday night Trivia, walk to BLB for the last show and then stop in Moto-i for sake. This worked out splendidly.
"I cannot be sane and murder"
I still haven't decided whether I like Red Hamlet. Parts were brilliant. Tim Mooney, of Lot O' Shakespeare, really liked Ophelia going mad to the "Who's On First" routine. I thought Polonious literally boxing her into a corner (with Qix-like lines of masking tape) was brilliant. The acting was superb.
But it wasn't Hamlet. Not inherently a bad thing, by itself, but if you're going to do variations on a classic, you have to get the elements that made the classic eternal. Red Hamlet did much of this, to be sure, but I still have doubts. What does one do with a modern Hamlet with the line, "Something witty this way comes"?
In any event, I liked it and will mull over the show's precise impact later. Time to go to lunch.
I suspected that Fletcher and Zenobia would be a hard ticket, and this turned out not to be the case. Still, Carole and I wanted a fairly quick and cheap place somewhere between theaters. Still experimenting with all the places on Nicollet between 18th and 19th, we go into the Southernmost Pho shop. I've eaten in that place several times over the years, but it keeps changing restaurants. This one was far less formal than most, and less than most restaurants. No bathrooms or printed menus. We had the Vietnamese soup, which was very good, served by the one elderly lady in the entire establishment. But onward.
Fletcher and Zenobia Save the Circus (by Edward Gorey)
Fun for kids
Live Action Set of Don't Blow Up Mr. Boban and Noah Bremer of Sideways Stories From Wayside School are always on my Must See list. Frankly, they should be on everybody's.
I must have read Fletcher and Zenobia at some time because the story seemed so familiar. Capturing Gorey in theater is an amazing feat. The troupe is extraordinarily skilled and the action is nonstop. The plot is thin but the circus is full.
Fletcher and Zenobia is mainly for kids, and the troupe bounced off the kids who were sitting in the front rows. Everyone had a good time. I didn't think the show was as amazingly transcendent as earlier efforts, but fans of the troupe (or anyone with kids or anyone who liked Gorey will like the show.
Last year, we stuffed the Fringe by missing Trivia. This year, we're taking it easy. Coming back from the Mill City Museum after Fletcher and Zenobia was easier than I had allowed for, and Carole and I had time to come home and check e-mail. Thence to the bar across the street for Trivia.
To make a long story short: We won by one point, and both of us contributed. I had to insist on one answer (What is the leftmost letter on the bottom row of a typewriter?) which was necessary for victory. Flush with victory (and some beer), we walked to the Bryant Lake Bowl.
xxx Well drawn characters, thin plot
For last year's show by the same writer/producer, I wound up interviewing several Muslim women about wearing the hijab: re: "That Sara Aziz". This year, I interviewed the writer for a KFAI report. Full Interview with Ahmed Naumaan. I think he's trying to do something important, but hasn't quite developed his skill as a playwright.
The two main characters are well drawn. Aaliya is an Americanized liberated Muslim woman who wants to teach Islamic children about their heritage, both as Muslims and as Americans. Anjum is her goth lesbian Muslim friend who supports her. Aaliya has a boyfriend who's a bit of a jerk and a boss who's a bit of a "fundo" which (according to the glossary handed out before the show) is "a mildly disparaging term for a fundamentalist".
The clashes are predictable, and serve mainly for Aaliya to rant. She's a good ranter. The plot, such as it is, chugs along and doesn't really resolve.
I'm not going to unabashedly recommend Change Agent, but it does illuminate some of the challenges that Muslims, especially women, face in western countries. Dr. Naumaan claims he is trying to make a larger point: Who defines who you are? This play doesn't answer the larger question. The smaller question of these characters is, if not answered, at least addressed.
Fringe Central this year, Moto-i, was boisterous and very loud, even on the rooftop patio. Carole and I hung out with Tim Mooney and said hello to various friends as they squeezed by. We both had a Lychee Splash (sake and two flavored liquors with a lychee nut immersed). Delicious.
We were hungry, but the White Castle was closed to all but Drive-Thru. Just as well. We went home, finished off some leftovers, and pooped out around midnight. A long day, but not a stressful day. Pretty good for mid-Fringe.
Still, after 14 Fringes, I have yet to find a show worthy of five kitties. Maybe Monday; three anticipated shows at Mixed Blood.
Continued at Day 5: A Great Day at Mixed Blood