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Saturday, August 9th, 2008

Time Event
9:10p
2008 Minnesota Fringe Festival Day 10
Day 10: Pictures!

A mental health day, as I only saw three shows on a Saturday and hung out with friends in the evening. I had a fourth scheduled, but am fending off burn out. Successfully, at the moment: I saw two five kitty shows in a row (the last one yesterday and the first one today) so my Fringe-O-Meter is still pinging.

I'll finish with three tomorrow afternoon and blow off the evening parties to go back to Trivia. (My Sunday eve Trivia team sorely needed me last week...)

If I make all three Fringes tomorrow, that will be 39, beating last year by the one dress rehearsal I caught before the Fringe officially started. Oy. That's a lot. Anyway...

An Intimate Evening with Fotis: Part II *****

"I'm NOT putting a bat in my freezer."

Jen Scott
Jen Scott, bass player for Fotis
Outside Mpls Garage before show, 8/9/08

Mike Fotis
Mike Fotis, before Fringe show
Mpls Theater Garage, 8/9/08

Mike Fotis is expressive, self-deprecating and willing to dish. He sits there, reads from a three-ring binder, with a bass in the background, and spins his life into hilarious stories. Funnier than Part I and I can hardly wait for Part III.

This Fringe has some very good storytellers, but no one does quite what Fotis does. His material is great, but it's his reading that brings it to life. He fearlessly exploits his fear and smoothly articulates his dumbfoundedness. Four stories: Video Fight games, bats in the house, rejection and music, payback and blogging. All great, and all would probably be okay in printed form, but you really need to hear him for full effect.

Dandelion ***

"I'm a shadow puppet, for Christ's sake."

Zach Kolodjeski
Playwright Zach Kolodjeski helping to tear down set of Dandelion
after last performance, 8/9/08

Cleverly written and well-staged play about a 17-year-old from a broken home with a vivid imagination. A very brave script. The performance is a slow-moving High School psychodrama that takes a while to warm up. There are several bright spots, notably Pamela Yang as the ingenue.

Another kids play that had lots of family members in the audience. I sat between Zack's grandparents and his uncle's family. This was the last performance, and it wasn't going so well, then ratcheted up in the middle and came to a rousing conclusion. More than just a teen angst scream, the show handled adult themes well. He's a playwright to watch.

In Rehearsal ****

"He was all beef and I was a vegan."

Alison Vodnoy
Alison Vodnoy
After Fringe performance 8/9/08

A one-woman show on relationships that fail, from both sides. The script is funny and touching; it feels true. Her performance is stellar: When she's her lithe Jewish main character, she's a feast for the eyes with yoga positions and ballet moves. As other characters, she dons simple costumes and uses lighting cues to have the characters interact.

The battle of the sexes theme continues to provide fodder for playwrights. As well it should. Part of the trick to keeping it fresh is the delivery. Alison spends the first part of the play prancing around, which enhances her storytelling. I don't know if there's a direct connection between her words and her movements except to wonder why she isn't attracting a better class of guy. (Note to Alison: I'm available at the moment, and I'm Jewish...)

Bonus picture for LJ:

evening companions
Evening companions at the Common Roots Cafe after Fringing 8/9/08
l-r: lsanderson, mizzlaurajean, davidschroth and laranjal (see this entry)

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