Sunday, April 25, 2004

Fringe 2004 Early Buzz - Sure Things (1 of 3)

As I scan the advance listings of information on the continually evolving 2004 Minnesota Fringe Festival, a number of productions jump out at me.

Last year, I mused about what I would do if someone put a gun to my head and I was only allowed to chose ten Fringe shows to attend, what would they be?

This year, 3 of those top 10 artists are back. It seemed a little unfair to the other 170+ shows to have 3 slots of the top ten already filled up. So to clear the decks for a brand new top 10 prospects, I figured I'd set aside those 3 vets - sort of grandfather them in, if you will, give them their very own category.

Sure Things

Not the same old things by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, they're all striking out in new directions.

Just shows that are sure to be very popular, and deservedly so.

Shows that will almost certainly sell out, and deservedly so.

So when the reservation lines open and the Fringe Festival site goes live on July 1st, these are three shows for which it would be well worth taking the trouble to make advance reservations. Or get in line early for one of their first performances. For the lines, they shall be long, and the performances, they shall be turning people away. Don't be one of them.

Sure Thing #1

Plants and Animals
by Scot Augustson of Seattle, WA
at the Bryant Lake Bowl

Scot wrote the play I fell in love with last year, "Gilgamesh, Iowa."

I've had the pleasure of reading a number of Scot's plays since Fringe 2003. Naughty puppet shows, lesbian christmas film noirs, crackpot tours of ancient mythologies, or gay Cold War espionage tales - they all reaffirmed my delight in his singular talent - hilarious, inventive, intelligent, and above all, intensively humane and sympathetic. Makes me doubly sad that he lives and usually works clear over on the West Coast, and we get to see him and his plays but once a year. But that "once a year" has at last come round again.

This new script he brings to the Fringe is a bit of whimsy telling the tale of the day when the plants join forces with the animals of the earth and rise up against humanity. Another familiar returning face with this show is Jonah Von Spreeken, one-half of last year's stellar Gilgamesh cast.

I'm looking so forward to it that I plan to be there on opening night, Friday, August 6th (and quite likely for some of the performances that follow as well). Perhaps I'll see you there.

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