Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Fringe 2017 - Top 10 - #1 - Odd Man Out


Every year I look for ten new sets of artists I haven’t spotlighted before to be a sort of pre-Fringe Top 10 - shows I’m looking forward to.  I’m not certain I’m going to love them yet, but given what I know, I’ve got a really good feeling it’s a show I’m going to enjoy.  (A post-Fringe Top 10 is, naturally, a lot easier to sort out - I’ve seen them already.)  Of course, given all the past Fringes I’ve blogged about, there’s a whole host of past Top 10 or Top 20 entries that I’m looking forward to seeing again (more on them shortly). But I always try to mix things up, and try to get the word out in case other folks are interested in trying something new.

When the Fringe lottery winners, and more recently the Fringe website, were available to look at, there were two shows that immediately jumped out at me that I was very excited to see.  It’s almost a coin flip which of the two I’m most interested in.  But this one’s a new play, so as a playwright with a soft spot for new plays, it gets the edge.  Plus, given the lead artist in charge, there’s overlap between the two.

#1 on the Top 10 list is year is

Underdog Theatre’s Odd Man Out

“The death of a family patriarch summons James to his hometown in South Texas. Once he arrives, James is confronted with issues of the past and present. Nothing is left on the table in this world premier drama.”

This is sort of “the script that got away.” Playwright Kory LaQuess Pullam submitted the first 25 pages to Workhouse Theater when I was working on their new play reading series.  We really enjoyed the first 25 pages and we anxious to see the whole thing.  Kory got an opportunity to have a reading with Theatre Pro Rata instead, so they nabbed it.  I didn’t get a chance to see that reading.  So when the script resurfaced again as part of the Minnesota Fringe Festival, it was a no-brainer to be on my schedule.

Why top of the list? That first 25 pages was really good.  Some of the best stuff we had submitted to Workhouse all year.  We were sad to see it go.  I’m really curious to see where all the characters and relationships end up.

Plus there’s adult language, violence, GLBT content, political content, and artists of color involved, according to the Fringe website tags so really, what’s not to like?

Also, Underdog’s production of Kory’s script Baltimore Is Burning was one of the best pieces of theater I saw in all of 2016.

Kory and Underdog know what they’re doing.  If you’ve seen their work before, you don’t need any convincing from me.  If you haven’t seen them, you’re missing out.

That’s why they top my list this year for the Fringe.


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