Once again, I'm not doing a Total Immersion Fringe. The City of Mpls recognizes I'm a journalist, even if the Fringe doesn't, and I'm still covering the Nicollet Repaving project, though not as industriously as last year. When they're all done (ie with the trees and street art put in) I'll make slide show/Ken Burns movies. But I digress.
The 2013 Minnesota Fringe Festival is still loads of fun. I couldn't make it to the two preview Fringe-for-all events, but I did go to three tech rehearsals and made the Ootifest (the Out-Of-Towners Showcase).
Here are reviews of the three shows Carole and I saw in rehearsal. Please allow that a rehearsal, even a tech/dress rehearsal, isn't the same as a performance with a full audience.
Fashion Risk or the Accidental Nudist
Naturalism as a lifestyle
It's one thing to write and perform an autobiographical play with lots of nudity that's good enough to bring your parents to. It's quite another thing to have an autobiographical play with lots of nudity that your parents are in. Naked.
Natalie's play is basically a one-woman show about growing up, but there are another nine people who walk around, mostly naked, as she relates stories from her life. The nudity is casual, and it doesn't take long before it seems natural. Which is the point. Self-image and fitting-in issues traumatize most kids, no matter what your lifestyle, no matter who your parents are. By the end, we know Natalie better, on the inside, and even gain insight into her parents.
Four stars for the play, rounded up a half star for the costuming and success when there isn't any. (I don't know if I can give half-stars on the Fringe site.)
Baron Dave interview with Natalie Rae Wass (4:37)
The Concept of Anxiety
Ruminations on death and a bit of geekery
Phillip Andrew Bennett Low is always interesting. His rapid-fire monologues usually have enough content, somewhere, and enough cerebration to make the experience worthwhile. Here, his ruminations on death meander around the subject, and little bits of dialog are splintered into fragments that coalesce, I think. The geeky jokes are fun, but a side issue. More than a little conceptual, which I like.
Phil is in at least five Fringes. I don't know how he memorizes all those words. But I'm glad he does.
Baron Dave interview with Phillip Bennett Low
The Television Will Not Be Revolutionized
Heavy-handed political commentary
Probably the least successful tech rehearsal I've ever been at, so take the low rating with a grain of salt. They weren't ready; they weren't even off-book. One of the actors didn't make it. The show doesn't go on until Saturday, so they have more time to prepare then the other rehearsals we went to. But still.
The humor only occasionally worked. The editorializing, even when I agreed with it, was unnecessary. Polemics are all well and good, but if you can't make fun of your target or make your diatribes funny, you shouldn't write satirical plays.
Carole and I mainly went because long-time fan Annie invited us and we wanted to see her perform. So we enjoyed ourselves. Nonetheless, I don't consider the experience a true Fringe Festival until I've seen something I don't like. And it's now been a true Fringe Festival.
Carole and I have a few Fringes scheduled. We don't know if we'll make all these and may add some later, but at the moment the ones percolating to the top are:
These Old Shoes by the same people who did the amazing "Red Resurrected", "Ballad of the Pale Fisherman" and "Ash Land". Thursday, 7pm show.
How To Date A Werewolf (or, Lonesome, Wild and Blue). Don't know much about this, but we were invited to come by a long-time friend. Friday, 10pm show.
Forgetting the Details. Another one I don't know much about, though here Ootifest excerpt was good, but she invited us. A Filipino woman talks about being raised by her grandmother. Don't know which performance as yet.
A Clown In Exile. I'll generically go to anything Noah Bremer is associated with, even if he's not in it. Still, the story of an Algerian clown is on the bubble. At the moment, scheduled for Saturday 10pm.
Four Humors' Lolita: A Three Man Show. Four Humors is almost always high on my list, even if I don't know anything about the play.
Fata Morgana. Loren Niemi is always high on my list. Still, a show on the bubble for various scheduling reasons.
Time and energy may not permit more Fringing. I tend not to drink when there's Fun Stuff happening, so hanging out at Fringe Central is iffy, though I may drop by. We'll see.
Continued in Day 1: A Five Star Start