2009 Minnesota Fringe -- Day 6: A cracked day
Day six is the midpoint of the Fringe Festival
. Already, I want to see more fringes than I have time for. Today was a bit of a cracked day: Three shows in three venues, one across town. The Traveling Musicians
and Fotis part III
were priorities, and I added the earlier show, An Actor's Nightmare
from reviews on the web. Frankly, one of the reasons I went was because a reviewer mentioned it was only 40 minutes, allowing more travel time. Nothing else in that time slot appealed to me, and nothing between the latter two shows looked good enough to get me to dash.
Unfortunately, my reservations didn't take. I was really only nervous about the middle show, the only one I couldn't get to early. Fortunately, it all worked out. In the time between the second and third show, I did interviews. But now I have no time to edit them down...
The Actor's Nightmare
||ASL at Intermedia Arts for "The Actor's Nightmare"
Before the performance at Intermedia, the ASL person reserved some seats for the hard of hearing. She had been at Convergence, and recognized me. During the play, which was largely dark, a spotlight was on her as she signed to at least one appreciative person.
Why we do improv
The show was written nearly thirty years ago. It doesn't feel dated, but it does creak. Someone -- we never find out who -- is put in a position where they should know their lines and don't. Pretty embarrassing, but almost any actor who has any improv training would rise to the job better than this guy. As a writer/actor I felt his pain, but laughs were few and forced. The cast is okay, the writing is literate but doesn't coalesce into a play. Two and a half kitties rounded down for a forty minute show. A Shockwave Radio Theater Review.According to the playbill, the play was written in 1980 by Christopher Durang as a companion piece to "Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All To You". Which I have never seen, and now have no desire to. The reviews were all positive and the premise sounded interesting, but it just never came together for me. The guy innocently gets to replace Edwin Booth in three very different plays. He's really bad, of course, not having a clue as to what to say or do. He gets a little help from the stage manager and other actors, but really: He should just have walked away. There were some laughs, but it got old by the third play. It comes to an ending but not a resolution. I thought it was dumb.
So... a mad dash across town to Cedar-Riverside. I almost screwed up the driving, but managed to get to that part of town just as someone pulled away from a great spot in front of Mixed Blood. The parking meters don't need to be fed after 6pm. So a quick saunter over to Nomad. After all that fretting, I was early.
The Traveling Musicians
||Cat, Dog, Rooster of "The Traveling Musicians"
I caught up with three of the musicians in the basement of the Nomad Bar. (The Donkey was in another show almost immediately and took off.) Wait for their interview to be posted. Katie Melby, Cat; Katie Hartman, Dog; Andrew Lynch, Rooster.
Almost an opera
A terrific cast uses the Nomad Bar to perfection. The animals each have their own personality, and each are a little bad in their own way. The songs are all original, and the story of the animal band is brought to life through the music. You will be singing and clapping along. Beer and pizza available at the bar, too, just the thing for busy fringers with little time for dinner between shows. Another sassy musical gets a true five kitty rating. A Shockwave Radio Theater Review.Three Sticks Theatre Company have done other great Fringe shows including
The Gypsy and the General. This show is just fabulous. Everyone is multitalented, singing alone or in harmony, playing many instruments and pandering to the crowd. They tell the story of the band, and why they broke up and why they're back. A terrific concert, and they are on at 7:00 every night.
The second show that would get five kitties (vs. 4 1/2 rounded up) is also a musical that steps more than a little outside the norm. Whee!
An Intimate Evening With Fotis Part III
||Mike Fotis, displaying his trading card 8/4/09
After his show at the Mixed Blood, Mike was giving out his Rockstar Storytellers card. Collect them all!
"Life annoys me"
If you liked his previous shows, you'll love this one. As before, curmudgeon Fotis just sits there, reading, with a bass accompaniment, as if Mr. Wilson finally got so pissed at Dennis the Menace that he ran away to become a beat poet. He tells three stories, each funnier than the last. Each story rambles a bit, then winds up in a more comfortable space, like a nude hike down the Appalachian Trail winds up in Argentina. This year, he was even more intense. He stumbled over his words in his haste so really gets four and a half kitties, but I have to round this up to five in case I start writing like him. A Shockwave Radio Theater Review.
With the Fringe more than halfway over, it's time to get down to business and make priority shows more of an, um, priority. Some shows just don't fit into any reasonable choreographed day. On the other hand, I have nothing scheduled for Sunday yet.
Both Monday and Tuesday slid by and I'm not feeling burnt out at all. I gambled a bit an slotted in four shows tonight.
Wednesday planned shows, fringes 24-28
The Harty Boys (Thrust 5:30)
Death Camp Diaries (Xperimental 7:00) (This is the show I designed the evening around)
Comedy Go! (Thrust 8:30)
Like A Virgin (Mixed Blood 10:00)
Continued from Day 5: An easy day
and continuing on to Day 7: oddly dispassionate