Monday, August 02, 2004

Fringe 2004 Early Buzz - Top 10 - Improv A Go Go: Deathmatch
If You Held A Gun To My Head (8 of 10)
...or If I Could Only See Ten Fringe Shows...
...what would they be, and why?

Improv A Go-Go: Deathmatch
Five Man Job
Brave New Workshop Theatre

This is actually a show I wish I could go to all five performances of because it's literally an ongoing comedy-drama (though each show in and of itself will be wildly entertaining, all five is like watching all the extras on a DVD - a practice of which I am a hopeless addict):

8/7 at 7pm - Round 1 - Five Man Job vs. Kabba Kick!
8/10 at 5:30pm - Round 2 - Ferrari McSpeedy vs. The Impossibles
8/12 at 10pm - Semifinals - Winner of Round 1 vs. Winner of Round 2
8/13 at 4pm - Fight for 2nd Place - Loser of Round 1 vs. Loser of Round 2
8/15 at 5:30pm - Winner of the Semifinals squares off against the Brave New Workshop for the title of champion of the Improv A Go-Go: Deathmatch

I am a fairly recent convert to the joys of improv and I'll tell you what did it...

Improv A Go-Go and Five Man Job

The regular, non-Fringe, version of Improv A Go-Go takes place every Sunday at Brave New Workshop at 8pm. You pay a buck (that's right, one dollar) and get to see four improv troupes go through their paces. It's great fun. The crowd is having a ball and it's infectious. One just feels freer to laugh, and god knows we could all use a laugh these days. The thing I like the best about it is that it's building a sense of community. Seasoned improv teams are on the bill alongside new troupes that just emerged from their improv classes and can't wait to practice their chops in front of a raucous crowd. The folks of Five Man Job are to be commended for dreaming up and continuing to organize and produce this gem of an idea.

It makes me long for the days when other arts organizations were all about building community locally, from the grassroots on up. Sigh. Ah, nostalgia...

Anyway, talking to folks from groups like Five Man Job and Ferrari McSpeedy, you just can't help liking them. They're so darn friendly and welcoming. It's almost as if improv makes you a better, less judgmental, more fun person to be around.

And if I may offer a personal aside, there are few things sexier than a person who can make you laugh, male/female/gay/straight, it cuts across all labels.

There's a reason so many people have been signing up for Improv A Go-Go: Deathmatch - it's in large part because of the great community from which it springs.

Improv may be the unsung branch of performance in the Twin Cities, but it is strong and growin. So join us, and sing along. Or just laugh. That's fine, too. (the singing was only metaphorical anyway).

Learn more about them at (sign up for their mailing list, join them on Sundays after the Fringe, check out those mirror balls) and at

On this day in Fringe history, "People who scheduled this also scheduled" such shows as: Look Ma No Pants, Punk Rock Awesome, Jaws: The Musical!, 10,000 Comic Books, Jack & Ben's Tenth Annual Bar Crawl and Moveable Feast. All of which are also improv-based shows that I have either already or am about to recommend and put on my schedule. So look elsewhere for my thoughts on them.

For a look a the rest of my evolving New Top Ten (If You Held A Gun To My Head and I could only see ten fringe shows, what would they be and why), click below:

Death Penalty Puppetry
The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind
Philosophy: The Music of Ben Folds
The Judas Cradle
On The Beaded Fringe 2: Traveling In Hip Circles

Plus, 3 Sure Things (shows from artists on my top ten last year that are back again this year)

Plants and Animals
In Defense of Sin (My Friends' Best Stories)
Whoppers, from Kevin Kling

(For more of my writing - plays, past blog entries and more - visit

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