Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Fringe - Day 5 - Part 1

Pillsbury House Theater

You know the Fringe has you by the scruff of the neck when you start adjusting your work schedule.

Went in a half hour early to the day job so I could make it back to Minneapolis in time to see Teechers. The Shortened Coffin Productions people, seemingly everywhere and so supportive of the rest of the Fringe family, chipped away at the last of my flimsy resistance and I found myself signing on to see yet another show. Very glad I did.

We've seen the play within a play before and we've seen the teachers and students play before, but not like this. Part of what makes it so much fun to watch is seeing three young performers not only playing multiple roles with gusto, but also to see them trading off some of those roles over the course of the play - and the characters never miss a beat. Also, the cast reaches past the cliche, creating the characters with broad strokes but then filling in the outlines with details that make them fully human. The vulnerability, both of the teenage and adult characters in this show, is what keeps you watching and invested in the outcome. Of course, this is only helped by the fact that these characters have a healthy sense of humor - about their situation, each other, and especially themselves.

The other major thing that makes this show so refreshing is that it doesn't cheat and hand the audience an unrealistically happy ending. People leave, people fail, people deal with the fallout of both abandoning others and being those left behind. Yet still there are slivers of hope invading even this reality - not the least of which is that these characters are resilient. So the problem isn't cheapened by an easy fix, but it also isn't portrayed as insurmountable.

Thanks, Brian and Paul, for believing so much in your show that you convinced me to attend. You're right. You've got something special.

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